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Otago inmate-guard affair claim probed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/07/2016

An investigation has been launched into an allegation a female prison officer had a relationship with an inmate at Otago's men's prison.

Neither Corrections nor the prison officers' union, the Corrections Association, are revealing details of the alleged relationship, whether it was sexual or not.

Otago Corrections Facility prison director Jack Harrison confirmed an investigation was taking place.

However, it was an employment matter and nothing further would be said at this stage, he said in a statement.

The officer was a member of the union and it was representing her during the investigation, the Corrections Association's Alan Whitley says.

He could not say much about the case. The allegation had come up in recent weeks and he believed the woman was now off work.

Guard-inmate relationships were uncommon but did happen from time to time, he said.

The situation had proved stressful for the woman and other guards.

The investigation could take anything from two weeks to two months, Mr Whitley said.

The Otago prison, north of Milton, can hold up to 485 low to high-medium security male inmates.

There are around 200 custodial staff. Corrections says its staff are expected to maintain professional boundaries and anyone breaching standards will be held to account.

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