A former prison officer who had personal relationships with two inmates has conceded she’s not suited for the job because she’s naturally flirtatious.
Melissa Goodwin, 26, was convicted of engaging in an intimate relationship with teenage inmate Corey London in August, a year after she was dragged out of her parents’ western Sydney home in a dramatic arrest.
On Wednesday, she spoke with Kyle and Jackie O about her time as a prison guard – revealing she was often spat at and had urine thrown on her while managing a pod with 86 male inmates at any given time.
‘I love to pick good men,’ she joked while discussing how she got caught up with London and former inmate Caleb Valeri – an associate of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang.
‘I love to pick good men,’ she joked while discussing how she got caught up with London and former inmate Caleb Valeri (pictured together)
Goodwin sported a fresh neck tattoo when she appeared in court to admit to conducting a relationship with an inmate
While she denied ever embarking on a relationship with London, she discussed in depth her relationship with Valeri, which only began when he contacted her on Instagram after he was released from prison.
‘My understanding was that he was in love with me, he was my boyfriend, we were together,’ she said.
Valeri, she claims, never saw the relationship as exclusive and was ‘seeing about 7,500 girls’ at the same time.
‘Looking back on it now, I’m a complete idiot. I’d never been cheated on before so I didn’t know the signs.’
Ms Goodwin said she was ’embarrassed to admit’ that she ‘completely ignored about 62 red flags’ during the course of the relationship.
Valeri, Ms Goodwin claims, never saw the relationship as exclusive and was ‘seeing about 7,500 girls’ at the same time
Ms Goodwin denied ever embarking on a relationship with London (pictured), instead insisting she offered him ‘life advice’
She had not yet declared to corrective services that they were dating because she wanted to make sure they were the real deal first.
But in the meantime, Valeri had reportedly been sharing explicit photos of Ms Goodwin to his social media pages, some of which while she was in uniform.
‘The captions were things like, ”I’m literally f**king the system”, referring to me,’ the 26-year-old claims.
Ms Goodwin concedes she made a mistake in not alerting corrective services of her relationship with Valeri, but is adamant it was above board.
‘I didn’t do anything with him until he got out because I loved my job and I followed the rules… to a degree… It’s not illegal to have a relationship with a former inmate,’ she said.
Just prior to her arrest in May 2020, Goodwin featured on the front cover of Corrective Services NSW’s Bulletin magazine
She was in bed with Valeri at her parents’ house in May 2020 when police stormed the home at about 7.30am to arrest her
She was in bed with Valeri at her parents’ house in May 2020 when police stormed the home at about 7.30am to arrest her.
Initially, she assumed it was related to Valeri. It wasn’t until she was on the way to the police station that she learned London had alleged they’d engaged in fellatio inside the prison.
Ms Goodwin pleaded guilty to having a personal relationship with London, but insisted it was a ‘pen pal’ dynamic and that they were never physically intimate.
While speaking with the radio hosts on Wednesday morning, she played down her involvement with the convicted armed robber even further.
‘I gave him life advice… I was trying to help and my personality can be seen as flirtatious, I can be overly nice but that’s just me. I’m not like that with just the inmates, I’m like that with everyone,’ she said.
Ms Goodwin said her one major mistake with London was accepting a note that he slipped to her inside the prison with a mobile number on it
‘Perhaps I wasn’t the perfect person for the job… My personality doesn’t really suit a jail.’
Ms Goodwin said her one major mistake with London was accepting a note that he slipped to her inside the prison with a mobile number on it.
Curiosity got the better of her, she claims, and she text the number after her shift, learning it was London’s mother.
Pictured: Ms Goodwin
She claims this is how London was able to obtain her mobile number and call her outside of work.
‘Nothing else happened inside that pod. If you’ve ever been an inmate or an officer you’d know it’s impossible… The inmate made it up [and] I was shocked, embarrassed and ashamed.’
London was shaken after he was bashed on May 14 at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Kempsey, and later refused to testify about the dynamic of their relationship in court.
Asked why, London’s lawyer Hannah Dempsey said: ‘He just refuses to talk and doesn’t want to discuss any comments that he’s made so far.’
Magistrate Reiss charged London with contempt of court, but the offence doesn’t carry a hefty penalty – just 28 days imprisonment. He still wouldn’t budge.
Despite the conviction, for which she was sentenced to a 12 month community corrections order and 100 hours’ community service, Ms Goodwin insists she was good at her job.
‘I was very good at my job, I was punctual, I loved my job, I treated people fair. It’s not my job to judge them, that’s the judge’s job,’ she said.
Ms Goodwin understands her conviction will make it hard for her to secure work in her chosen field in the future, but hopes to put her criminology degree to good use and work in counter terrorism.
In the interim, she’s working as a personal trainer in two western Sydney gyms and trying to escape the stigma that comes with her conviction.
‘This did a lot of damage to my mental health… I still get messages about it to this day, I copped a lot of abuse.’
Despite the outcome and public outcry, Ms Goodwin does not regret how she dealt with inmates while on the job.
‘They’re doing it tough,’ she said. ‘They’re locked in cells, they’re away from their families and I know they’ve put themselves there, but it’s still tough.’