A grand jury in Long Island has indicted a former jail nurse who allegedly had a secret relationship with an inmate and arranged to get him a ceramic knife while he was being held at the Nassau County Correctional Center.
Per WABC, Yasmin Talbot, who is accused of promoting prison contraband and conspiracy, made a court appearance on Thursday. The 48-year-old’s position at the Nassau County Correctional Center was said to be the second highest.
The inmate Talbot is accused of having a secret relationship with was identified as 37-year-old Christopher Wright. Talbot tendered her resignation in September after she was suspended in August. That was after an investigation was launched. She, however, later got a job at a nursing home, and she was arrested on Wednesday.
“Our investigation began when we realized that she was abusing that power that she had,” Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said.
Authorities said Talbot and Wright had hundreds of calls, adding that many of the things they spoke about were inappropriate and unauthorized. In the calls, the former jail nurse and Wright spoke about smuggling contraband into the jail and also using an alias to deposit money into Wright’s commissary account. Talbot is also accused of providing Wright with information about where other inmates were being housed.
Prosecutors said Talbot managed to enter the jail with a deadly ceramic blade that she gave to Wright, WABC reported. “It betrays the public trust, it circumvents our measures in stopping contraband from coming in, that’s a very sharp blade that could’ve caused a lot of damage,” Lt. Mark Curatolo with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department said.
Wright was later found in possession of the ceramic blade when he underwent a body scan a month after the weapon was smuggled into the jail. Investigators ultimately linked Talbot to Wright after they reviewed his recorded phone calls.
“Mrs. Talbot vehemently denies the allegations against her in this indictment,” Talbot’s attorney, Anthony Grandinette, said outside the court. “She looks forward to clearing her reputation and she would hope the community affords her the presumption of innocence and the due process that she deserves and that’s all we have for today.”
Talbot faces a slew of charges including first-degree promoting prison contraband, two counts of offering a false instrument for filing, two counts of falsifying business records, three counts of official misconduct, and conspiracy. She entered a not-guilty plea, and her bail was set at $500 cash, $5,000 bond, and $5,000 partially secured bond, WABC reported.
“She’s a person who is a public official in power and to use that pose to put others in danger, her own staff, the jail staff and other inmates is unfathomable,” Donnelly said.
Despite being granted bail, Talbot was remanded as she has a pending aggravated DWI with a child case. Talbot could be sentenced up to 2-1/3 to 7 years in prison if she’s found guilty.
Wright, on the other hand, has been charged with promoting prison contraband and official misconduct and conspiracy. He also similarly entered a not-guilty plea and his bail was set at $5,000 cash, $10,000 bond, and $50,000 partially secured bond. He could be sentenced to up to 3 and a half to 7 years in prison if he’s found guilty. His next court date is scheduled for January 8.
“Let this be a warning to others that might consider bringing contraband into the correctional center. We will not tolerate anyone endangering the safety of the facility and anyone who does, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The safety and security of this correctional center, its staff, and the inmates are of the utmost importance,” Nassau County Sheriff Anthony La Rocco said.