FORT ANN -- A Salem woman who worked as a teacher at Washington Correctional Facility was arrested Friday after state officials determined she was smuggling heroin and needles into the medium-security prison and having sex with the inmate to whom she was bringing drugs, officials said.
State Police said Kimberly Ricci, 24, was charged Friday after an investigation by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and State Police. Ricci was a vocational instructor in the prison and resigned after she was confronted by prison officials about the allegations.
She was arrested after prison officials learned she was having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate and brought heroin into the prison on at least three occasions in recent months, officials said.
Ricci had been assigned to Washington Correctional for several months, having moved to the area from an assignment at a downstate prison.
Ricci and the inmate used drugs together, including needles, and had sex in the area where she instructed students, police said.
Ricci smuggled the drugs and needles into the prison by hiding them in a body cavity and in a bag of snack food, according to State Police.
Teachers go through security checkpoints when entering the prison but are not searched as vigorously as visitors and non-employees are, authorities said.
Ricci was charged with felony counts of promoting prison contraband, as well as third-degree rape and misdemeanor official misconduct. Felony drug charges could be added, officials said.
The rape charge was filed because it is illegal for staff at a correctional facility to have sexual contact with inmates.
The inmate, who is serving a sentence for burglary, has not been charged, but the investigation was continuing.
Ricci was arraigned and released on her own recognizance pending prosecution in Fort Ann Town Court. The charges are punishable by up to 7 years in state prison.
State Police referred further comment to DOCCS.
Taylor Vogt, a spokeswoman for DOCCS, said Ricci worked for the department for less than two years. Her salary was $38,225.
DOCCS spokesman Tom Mailey said the agency was reviewing the matter and would look at security procedures.
“DOCCS is constantly reviewing procedures and policies for effectiveness,” he said.