Crime

Idaho prison officer investigated for viewing, commenting on photos of inmate’s body

Matt D. Johnson, an Idaho Department of Correction officer, resigned Sept. 4, 2018, after an internal investigation found he viewed photos taken of a former female inmate and then messaged her on Facebook about them.
Matt D. Johnson, an Idaho Department of Correction officer, resigned Sept. 4, 2018, after an internal investigation found he viewed photos taken of a former female inmate and then messaged her on Facebook about them. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

An Idaho Department of Correction officer is being investigated for allegedly contacting a former female inmate via social media after viewing photos of her body taken when she was admitted into the prison.

Typically, when an inmate is admitted to prison, distinguishing tattoos, scars and other marks are photographed.

“My personal favorite is the pair of lips tattooed on your a** but that’s just me lol,” wrote Matt D. Johnson to the woman.

The woman responded to Johnson, “I am literally screaming right now.”

The Statesman is not identifying the woman. Prison director Henry Atencio confirmed an investigation is under way into the officer’s alleged conduct.

She told the Statesman she met Johnson through a mutual friend last week. The next day, he contacted her via social media about her inmate identification photos.

The woman took screenshots of her online message exchange with the officer and posted it to social media to draw attention to Johnson’s behavior.

After he describes another photo of her anatomy, she responds, “Wow dude, what is the interest?”

His answer: “Ummm you’ve been out here right? 90% boredom 10% pure adrenaline. Ya pretty much find sh*t to entertain yourself. Don’t worry I’m not stalking you.”

The woman responded, “Being in prison was f***ing embarrassing and invasive and was not OK. So thank you for reminding me every CO [correction officer] can look my body and my past up.”

Atencio said he learned about the incident Monday morning from an employee who monitors social media accounts.

“This is something we take very seriously,” Atencio told the Statesman. “If true, it is a breach of public trust. We hold our staff to a higher level than that. We are going to investigate this like we do other allegations and complaints and get to the bottom of it.”

Johnson works at Idaho State Correctional Institution, a medium-security men’s prison south of Boise.

The woman, who is on limited supervision, said she is concerned about retaliation.

“People are always scared to speak up when they are in my position,” she told the Statesman.

“How many other incidences do you think have occurred? How many other victims and how many other employees?” she asked.

The Statesman has reached out to Johnson via social media for comment.

Cynthia Sewell is Idaho Statesman’s government and investigative reporter. Contact her at (208) 377-6428, csewell@idahostatesman.com or @CynthiaSewell on Twitter.
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