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D.C. correctional officer sentenced in bribery case

Jail is supposed to be no frills, a place where the only the basic amenities of food, clothing and shelter exist. But according to prosecutors, one D.C. jail officer helped an inmate get some creature comforts -- a cell phone, an iPod, and even a charger for the devices.

Thomas Ford, 35, of the District, was sentenced Thursday to 12 months and one day in prison on a charge of bribery of a public official, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District announced.

Ford admitted in February that he accepted cash payments in exchange for
agreeing to smuggle cell phones, an iPod and a charger to a cooperating inmate in the Correctional Treatment Facility, which is operated by the Corrections Corporation of America under contract with the D. C. Department of Corrections.

The FBI launched an undercover sting in 2008, after getting a tip that corrections officers were smuggling contraband to inmates. U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said in a statement that as a law enforcement officer, Ford abused the public trust, and he pledged, "“whenever anyone violates the public trust and breaks the law, we will prosecute them vigorously.”

--Theola Labbé-DeBose

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  May 27, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Jail , The District , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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As a retired correctional officer who has worked at the facility as well as DC Jail, it is still hard for me to conceive why any sane employee would do anything like this to not only jeopardize his job but the safety of others...

If married, he has shamed his wife and family...He had a good paying job and the few dollars received illegally are pennies in comparison to the risk...sad......

Posted by: pentagon40 | May 27, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, situations like this occur all too often in privately owned and operated prisons. These companies are notorious for neglecting background checks and not properly training the staff they have. They also rarely if ever hire unionized workers. Taken together, those actions typically result in a lower quality work force than at a state-run prison. People love to tout the cost savings of privatization (which multiple studies have found to be negligible at best), but rarely think of the consequences of hiring a company that focuses primarily on its bottom line, sacrificing quality in the process.

For way more information on how bad the private prison industry is, check out

Posted by: mt6112a | May 27, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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