Girls in prison! As female guards in charge of male inmates!

And you know what often happens next. Here’s one of my favorite stories, from November 2014:

Rockview, Pa.—A female prison guard trainee has been charged by the state Department of Corrections with having sex with an inmate – in the chapel of a central Pennsylvania prison.

Online court records don't list an attorney for 27-year-old Rebecca Zong, of Boalsburg. She faces a preliminary hearing Dec. 3 on a charge of institutional sexual assault.

Investigators say the sex was consensual, but under Pennsylvania law inmates aren't considered able to voluntarily have sex with their captors.

But I’ll bet those inmates are able to voluntarily suggest a great place to do it!

Investigators say Ms. Zong began a relationship with an inmate at the State Correctional Institution-Rockview in the spring. After writing him a sexually explicit note, Zong allegedly had sex behind the stage of the prison's chapel in April and May.

Here’s another humdinger, from 2013:

Baltimore—Four female prison guards in Baltimore fell pregnant to the same inmate, according to authorities who have busted a major smuggling gang inside the jail system.

Two of the women tattooed the inmate's name on their bodies and he showered three of them with expensive gifts including cars and jewelry.

The four women are among 25 people who face federal charges, including 13 female prison guards, CBS Baltimore reports.

And here’s the latest, from just a few days ago:

St. Louis—A former city jail guard was charged Wednesday with having sexual contact with an inmate and smuggling him a cellphone.

Ciara Jones, 28, of the 10500 block of Baron Drive in unincorporated north St. Louis County, was charged Wednesday with three counts of sexual contact with a prisoner or offender and three counts of delivery or possession of a prohibited item at a county jail.

I could make a joke about “hard time”—but I won’t.

The usual chin-pulling explanation for these all-too-regular jailhouse shenanigans is that  state and local governments don’t have the right screening techniques in place—or pay enough in salaries—to weed out lady guards with “self-esteem” issues:  

"I believe that a lot of times the females that engage in this type of ethical suicide have major issues going on with themselves before they are even hired," Tamara, a former corrections officer who has moved into prison administration at a Midwestern facility, tells VICE. "A lot of them are single mothers who are looking to fill a void in their lives, whether it be not having a spouse, or a father figure on the outside."  


"I hate to say it, but a lot of correctional officers, male and female, have low self- esteem," Tamara says, which can lead to them befriending or starting relationships with inmates.

I think there’s a simpler explanation for what goes wrong: Putting female guards into male prisons in the first place. Just for starters, women generally aren’t physically strong enough to deal with hardened men with plenty of free time to spend in the weights room. And then, the potential romantic scenario is irresistible: the alluring bad boy, the misunderstood tough guy who never had a chance, the star-crossed lover separated from you by iron bars and bureaucracy. You, too, might yearn to tattoo yourself with his name.

In a sane society, none of the above three incidents would get a chance to take place. But we live in a society that pretends that men and woman are exactly alike.