‘Partners in crime’

Prison guards can be as sinister as the criminals they shepherd. The booze, drugs, mobile phones, and weapons possessed by inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City may be more than enough proof of the shady characters who allow the smuggling of contraband into the national penitentiary.

American jail wardens may be no different. The case of a female corrections officer and inmate of the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Florence Alabama vanishing together in April tended to show that convicts and their guards can be “partners in crime.”

Why Assistant Director for Corrections Vicky White, 56, and inmate, Casey White, 38, failed to return after she escorted him to a court hearing was explained by her secret romantic relationship with him that investigators later discovered. Her attempt to elope with him, however, ended tragically when pursuing cops cornered them and she took her own life to avoid arrest.

Other corrupt prison guards were discreet about their own shenanigans. Nevertheless, the sick leaves of New York City correction officers Steven Cange, 49; Eduardo Trinidad, 42; and Monica Coaxum,
36, aroused suspicion and investigation.

The three were eventually arrested and charged on 10 November for alleged excessive paid sick leaves lasting up to a year. Worse, the sick leaves they filed were fake. Cange took a leave in March 2021, claiming he suffered debilitating side effects from the Covid-19 vaccine, according to his criminal complaint cited by New York Post.

During his absence, he reportedly drew up to $160,000 in salary. But the more than 100 appointment slips for physical therapy and doctor consultation that he submitted never happened. Instead, he wrote a comic book during his leave.

Based on the complaint against Coaxum, she went on leave from March 2021 to May 2022 allegedly due to injuries, collecting $80,000 in pay while absent, officials said, according to NYP. Then she was caught attending parties and admitted that the medical papers detailing her injuries were forged.

Trinidad, Coaxum’s fiancee, showed up one time at the city Department of Correction “wearing some combination of a sling, cane, and/or boot” and took a sick leave between June 2021 and November 2022, the NYP reported. He was caught doing house repairs and playing bowling during his leave.

The city government is holding the three correction officers accountable for shameful dereliction of duty.

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