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Correctional officer sentenced for smuggling contraband into prison for money

The Department of Justice said the officer was smuggling in items including drugs and phones.
U.S. prison in South Carolina
Posted at 2:50 PM, May 16, 2024

A correctional officer was sentenced to a year and one day in federal prison — without parole — after she was convicted of smuggling contraband into a South Carolina prison in exchange for thousands of dollars from inmates.

Authorities say 34-year-old Ashlee Richardson-Barley of Atlanta smuggled in banned items like cellphones, cigarettes, cannabis and the prescription drug suboxone into a prison in Estill, South Carolina, and was paid around $15,700 by inmates.

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Prosecutors say Richardson-Barley worked at the Federal Corrections Institution in Estill between November 2019 and April 2020 when she smuggled the banned items in. U.S. District Judge David Norton said Richardson-Barley's prison time will be followed by a year of court-ordered supervision.

U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, Adair F. Boroughs said the sentence was meant to send "a clear message that no one is above the law," adding, "Federal employees — especially those who enforce the law — are held to a higher standard."

The DOJ said there has been a focus on ensuring correctional officers do not violate their oath by smuggling contraband into prisons.