NEW BOSTON, Texas–A former correctional officer has been arrested on a bribery charge involving another former prison employee and an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Candra Jimese Gray, 36, allegedly resigned from her job as an officer at the Barry Telford Unit in New Boston last year after being confronted about an inappropriate relationship with an inmate who is at the center of bribery charges leveled against her this month and another ex-officer, Ki-Jona Hayvin Wells, 25, last month.
Gray reportedly quit Dec. 10, 2021, immediately after an assistant warden at Telford played a recording of a conversation between her and the inmate made through the offender telephone system, according to a probable cause affidavit. Gray is now accused of meeting Wells at a location away from the prison to exchange money for delivering contraband to the inmate, including water bottles filled with alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine.
Investigators with the Office of the Inspector General based at Telford launched an investigation in May after finding a prohibited cell phone in an inmate’s cell which allegedly contained text message threads with Wells, according to a probable cause affidavit. Wells and the inmate allegedly discussed moving contraband, including a SIM card for a cell phone, into the prison in exchange for money that Wells would pick up from the inmate’s “baby” outside the prison or collect through a digital cash transfer application.
Wells and Gray allegedly met at a site between his home in Idabel, Oklahoma, and her residence in Clarksville, Texas, earlier this year. Gray allegedly gave Wells cash and water bottles filled with alcohol, one of which he allegedly gave to the inmate in the prison and one of which was found during a search of Wells’ pickup.
Early on the morning of Sept. 14, while Wells was at the prison to work, OIG investigators searched his truck and seized his cell phone. In addition to evidence of alleged bribery for contraband, the investigators discovered alleged child pornography on Wells’ phone.
A forensic examination of the device allegedly revealed four videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children under the age of 8 by adult men and a woman. Wells was arrested Nov. 9 on four counts of possession of child pornography. Two counts of bribery and two counts of prohibited substance in a correctional facility were added later.
Wells is currently being held in the Bowie County jail with bails totaling $550,000. Gray is currently free on a $50,000 bond posted on Dec. 15, the same day of her arrest.
Wells and Gray face two to twenty years in prison if convicted of bribery. Wells faces additional terms of two to ten years on each of four counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of introducing prohibited items into a correctional facility.
The cases have been assigned to 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison in Bowie County.