Courts & Crime

Prison sex in Kansas: Audit finds system's lax on guards

TOPEKA — Prison guards in Kansas who have sex with inmates face less punishment than those who smuggle cigarettes into prison.

That's one key finding from a state audit released Thursday that highlighted lax penalties for guards who commit sexual misconduct with inmates.

The audit also concluded that prison officials missed warning signs of inappropriate relationships between employees and inmates at three prisons, including the Lansing Correctional Facility.

The review was prompted by a sexual relationship between a prison employee and an inmate at the all-female Topeka Correctional Facility. The inmate became pregnant.

Lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to toughen penalties for guards who commit sexual misconduct with an inmate.

The audit also examined escapes at the Lansing and El Dorado correctional facilities and determined that officials failed to heed warning signs.

In 2006, prison volunteer Toby Young smuggled convicted murderer John Manard out of Lansing in a dog crate in her van. The audit found that prison officials failed to follow up on repeated reports that Young was “overly familiar” with inmates.

Also on Thursday, a female corrections officer was given two years' probation for having sex with a juvenile inmate and giving him a cell phone. Jennifer Jerauld, 31, pleaded guilty in December to two counts of unlawful sexual relations in a juvenile justice authority facility and one count of bringing contraband into a correctional institution.