- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A teacher and a correctional officer at the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility in Walnut Grove face charges after alleged incidents at the prison.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/1BYvEDz) Freda Stuart, 58, of Union, a teacher at the prison, was arrested for allegedly having sex with an inmate in a classroom closet. Police also arrested correctional officer Romelowe T. Lofton, who reportedly tried to smuggle a cellphone and cigarettes into the prison.

A deputy warden reportedly found Stuart and the inmate in a classroom closet after a class had ended and other inmates had returned to their housing units. Walnut Grove Police Chief Kevin Polk said Stuart was arrested after police received a call about the incident.

“MTC has strict no-contact policies between staff members and offenders,” a release by Management and Training Corp., the Utah-based private prison company that runs the facility, said. “We do not tolerate this behavior and will pursue any and all legal means of justice in this case.”

Stuart has since been placed on administrative leave pending resolution of the case.

When asked whether the inmate was a student of Stuart’s, Polk said he only knew that she had been giving him schoolwork.

In the other case, Lofton, 19, and Jatra Brooks, a visitor, each was booked in the Leake County Jail after Brooks allegedly gave Lofton the contraband to bring to an inmate. Lofton reportedly hid the cigarettes in food and the cellphone in his boot. The phone was discovered by a body scanner when he entered the building.

Lofton has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, and the inmate - whose name was not released - faces charges of conspiracy to introduce contraband into a prison.

It was not immediately known if Brooks also was charged in the case.

Walnut Grove remains under federal court oversight for inmate-on-inmate violence and other issues. The prison suffered riots on Dec. 31 and July 10, leading plaintiffs in the court case to question private prison contractor Management & Training Corp.’s control of the situation. After the July riot, about 100 of the most dangerous inmates were removed from the prison.

MTC said it has decreased the amount of contraband in Walnut Grove and three other facilities in the state by installing 30-foot netting, body scanners and a new K-9 unit.

MTC also operates the East Mississippi Correctional Facility near Meridian, the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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