NEWARK, NJ - Northern State Prison corrections officer Avril D. Richardson, 46, of Elizabeth has been sentenced to three years probation in a Superior Court in Newark. 

According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, in addition to probation, Richardson was forced to forfeit her job and any future public employment after pleading guilty to a sexual relationship with an inmate while working as a senior correctional officer at Northern State Prison located in Newark.

Authorities said the relationship came to light as a result of an investigation conducted by the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division. and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Bureau. Richardson was then arrested and charged. 

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According to authorities, the investigation revealed Richardson had a relationship with the inmate that started in 2016 and continued until her arrest. They maintained this relationship by talking on the phone and emailing. At the time, she was assigned to his housing unit. 

In June, Richardson pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, according to Assistant Prosecutor Jessica L. Apostolou, who handled the case.

“Any time corrections officers abuse their power and violate the public trust, the safety of our community is in jeopardy,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Apostolou. “This case reflects the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office continued diligent pursuit of the conviction of offenders of the laws of this state.  Our pursuit of justice involves  the prosecution of criminal conduct by law enforcement officers in the course of their employment, and we worked closely with the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Special Investigations Division to reach this goal.”  

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