COVINGTON - A Newton County Sheriff's Office detention officer has been arrested and charged in connection with using an inmate's credit card, according to Sheriff Joe Nichols.
"She is charged with taking a credit card from an inmate's personal possessions that are locked up. She went to the bank, withdrew money and put it in the inmate's account at the jail, which is a breach of policy," Nichols said. "She kept money for herself, and that's a breach of the law."
Renedria Deon English, 31, of 2046 Charter Manor in Lithonia was charged with violation of oath by a public officer, financial transaction fraud and theft by taking.
According to jail records, English had worked as a detention officer for three years. Her duties included taking personal information from prisoners and fingerprinting them when they were booked into the jail.
Nichols said English is no longer employed with the NCSO.
"There's immediate termination if someone is charged with a crime," Nichols said. "I hold them to the same standards as the public. If they break the law, they are charged."
Nichols said the officer's shift supervisor found out about the transaction. He explained that no jail employees are to handle an inmate's cash.
"We never handle money. The detention officer never takes cash," he explained. "The inmates themselves put their cash in a banking console (similar to an ATM machine), which counts it and gives them a receipt."
He said the inmate can access the money electronically and use it to purchase items in the jail commissary, to make phone calls or transfer it to a family member.
"If someone wants to bring money to someone in jail, they go into the lobby and put it into a banking console. They don't give it to our detention officers," he said.
Nichols said he found the incident disturbing.
"I'm always disappointed any time we have an officer break the law," he said. "They are accountable for their actions."
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.