Match.con: “Dating” Prisoners Proves Problematic for Prison Guards

Written by Mike Rickard II

The P.O.P. (aka the power of the pussy) has struck again, this time at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden, New York (a sleepy town outside Buffalo, New York). It appears several correctional officers (aka C.O.’s) decided to turn the women’s section of the county jail into their personal dating site. Buffalo’s local rag The Buffalo News reported on the juicy details:

A once-buried internal affairs case shows that some of Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s jail officers have used the job as a chance to meet women, even if they are serving time or facing court action.

According to records that just came to light, Howard’s team concluded in 2018 that three corrections officers had been too friendly with women they met at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.

Apparently, the three stooges officers decided to take a page from the highly successful dating service and put their own spin on things, effectively turning the local jail into Match.con.’s funny take on the shitshow known as the year 2020

Besides the obviously sleaziness to the practice of C.O.’s banging dating inmates, there’s the administrative rules against the practice. Let’s take a look at exactly what happened:

All were found to have violated the sheriff’s code of conduct, which barred them from associating with known criminals and former inmates. 

Corrections Officer Ronald Dolyk was suspended for seven days, the records indicate. Officer John Valenti resigned rather than be fired after admitting he did not tell the truth when he initially denied having relations with a former inmate, according to the records. Officer Matthew Reardon received a letter of reprimand for contacting a former inmate through social media

The Buffalo News article did not state if the C.O.’s claimed to have been catfished, a process defined by the Urban Dictionary as:

Someone who pretends to be someone else, especially on the internet. Found on anywhere from instagram to twitter to chat sites, these people use fake pictures to disguise who they are.

While its usefulness as a defense is questionable, the idea of C.O.’s claiming “the inmates didn’t look anything like their mugshot” may have been enough to confuse a jury if their case had gone to trial.

Were the C.O.’s catfished by inmates’ profile pics (aka mugshots)?

Regardless, these three luckless Lotharios could have found themselves sitting in Con College themselves as it’s a criminal offense for C.O.’s to have con coitus. The reasons would seem to be obvious to anyone with an I.Q. over 70 but for the clueless and confused, the News article explains:

State and federal laws indicate that, because of the power imbalance, inmates are not capable of consenting to sex with their guards. Further, federal officials say sexual relations between staff and inmates threatens prison security.

Perhaps these three C.O.’s were inspired by the case of C.O. Robert Dee, who found love in the arms of a former inmate he met while on the job. A 2020 Buffalo News article discussed Dee’s whirlwind romance:

Dee once married a former inmate he met while on the job. Her mother, his former mother-in-law, says he’s an attentive father from a good-hearted family.

“I think he’s a good dad,” said Sandra Gandy.

She is the mother of Jennifer Chudzinski, who met Dee more than 15 years ago while she did time behind bars. The two married and had three children, Gandy said, before splitting in 2012. When Jennifer Chudzinski died from an overdose in 2019, Dee and his parents were a source of support for her survivors, her mother said.

While some C.O.’s may wish for the simpler days when conjugal visits weren’t just between inmates and their spouses, those halcyon days are hopefully a thing of the past. As someone who spent time in Con College (see my memoir Laughing All the Way to the Bank (Robbery): How an Attorney Survived Prison) the last thing a prison (or here, a jail) needs is corrupt C.O.’s. This was seen in 2015 when Joyce Mitchell, a female prison employee (note, not a C.O.) helped inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt escape from the New York Clinton Correctional Facility in 2015. However, the prison employee wasn’t alone in helping the two inmates escape as the other helper, a prison guard fell victim to the P.O.P. (power of the paintings). According to a New York Times report, C.O. Gene Palmer:

A longtime corrections officer has admitted to investigators that he smuggled a screwdriver and pliers into the prison and did other favors for Richard W. Matt, one of the escaped killers, in exchange for a dozen elaborate paintings and other drawings by him, according to court documents and a person with knowledge of the guard’s statements.

Those must have been some incredible paintings. Either that or the C.O. had atrocious taste in art.

About the author

Mike Rickard II

Retired bank robber and author of "Wrestling's Greatest Moments", "Laughing All the Way to the Bank Robbery, "Flunky: Pawns and Kings," and "Don't Call Me Bush Beans: The Legend of a Three-Legged Cat." Pro wrestling and hockey fan. Hired gun for several pro wrestling sites and a top 10 YouTube wrestling channel. Available in regular and extra-strength.