(WOMENSENEWS)–A mentally ill prisoner in Wisconsin was sentenced to almost a year in solitary confinement after prison officials discovered a prison guard had impregnated her.
The prison guard was fired but will not be charged with a crime because state law does not prohibit sex between prison staff and prisoners, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The inmate, Jackie Noyes, told prison officials she had four sexual encounters with the guard, Matthew Emery, in the staff break room of the mental health unit at Taycheedah Correctional Institution. Emery was supervising Noyes, who was collecting garbage in the area.
Authorities found Noyes guilty of “sexual conduct, soliciting staff,” and sentenced her to one year of solitary confinement; the warden reduced the sentence to 180 days, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Both Noyes and Emery stated the relationship was consensual, but others argue that consent in this situation was not possible.
“It’s an inherently coercive situation, so in a true sense the inmate can never consent,” Jon Reddin, a Milwaukee County deputy district attorney, told the Journal Sentinel.
Currently, Wisconsin, Alabama, Oregon and Vermont do not explicitly prohibit sexual relations between prison staff and inmates, according to Angie Hougas, a field organizer for Amnesty International. State Rep. Bonnie Ladwig said she would introduce legislation to make sexual contact between prison employees and inmates a felony.
Noyes’ mother, Diane Teach, said her daughter had been receiving treatment for mental health problems since age 2, and has attempted to commit suicide twice while in prison. She told the Journal Sentinel that letters from Noyes describe her fear, anger and anxiety at being placed in solitary confinement.
“Yeah I was wrong,” Noyes wrote in one of the letters to her mother. “But they are a lot more wrong. I was supposed to be safe and now I’m pregnant.”
For more information:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel–
“Inmate punished for sex with guard”: