Dozens of corrections officers were fired or resigned for having inappropriate relationships with inmates in the last four years, highlighting a problem that plagued the state's prison system long before last week's bloody escape involving an inmate and a former prison nurse.
That nationally publicized East Tennessee jailbreak of an armed robber marked the second time in less than a year that an inmate-guard romance had resulted in a prisoner's escape.
Between January 2004 and February 2005, at least 29 TDOC employees resigned or were fired for inappropriate relationships with prisoners or the inmates' families. Those figures did not indicate which of the relationships were romantic.
On Tuesday, authorities said, Jennifer Forsyth Hyatte helped her husband, a convicted armed robber serving a 35-year sentence, escape from the Roane County Courthouse, fatally shooting a guard in the process. They were captured in Ohio the next night.
Last year, Tennessee inmate Edward McDaniel escaped from the DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville with help, authorities said, from guard Vicki Sanford. The two were on the lam for almost a week before being apprehended in Texas.
At the time of McDaniel's escape, TDOC said five counselors, 12 nurses and 69 female corrections officers had been fired or resigned for inappropriate inmate relationships during the previous three years. Numbers for male officers were not made available.