In a series of articles published last year, the News and Observer exposed rampant corruption in North Carolina prisons. In response, state lawmakers asked DPS to provide information about crimes committed by prison employees while on the job. A review of these crimes shows a pattern of employees receiving minimal punishment. In one case, an officer was accused of having relations with a convicted murderer and helping him escape from Brown Creek Correctional Institution. Two and a half years later, prosecutors dropped the officer’s felony charges, allowed her to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and sentenced her to six months probation. In general, crimes range from inappropriate intimate relations with inmates to smuggling contraband to helping inmates to escape. Smuggling contraband was the most common crime.  According to the Department of Public Safety’s review, 57 prison employees were charged with crimes while on duty. Only four received prison time. Thirty received probation. Most of the criminal charges, about 60 percent, were dismissed. The News and Observer later uncovered several more incidents that were not listed in the DPS report. Reece Saunders, the District Attorney for Richmond and Anson counties, said that a major challenge in prosecuting these cases is that they often rely on the cooperation of inmates, who often change their stories or refuse to testify. Learn more here.