An Erie County Jail kitchen worker was arrested Wednesday, a day after authorities received a tip that she provided inmates with alcohol and tobacco.
Mildred Hensley, 59, of Sandusky, was scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. today on two charges of conveyance of illegal items or deadly weapons onto the grounds of a detention facility or institution. One of the charges, a second-degree misdemeanor, is in connection with bringing alcohol into the facility. The other charge, a fourth-degree felony, came after Hensley allegedly admitted to authorities she brought scissors into the jail so an inmate could cut his hair.
Erie County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said tobacco, by law, is not a "drug of abuse." Therefore, Hensley isn't charged with bringing it to the jail. He added jail officials consider scissors a deadly weapon.
"We have no idea what the inmate could or could not have done with those scissors," Oliver said. "We take any allegations of this nature very seriously because the safety and security of our jail operations is paramount."
Hensley had been a sheriff's office employee for at least 20 years. She's technically not an employee now, since the jail contracted kitchen services out to another company.
Oliver said authorities received an anonymous call on Tuesday from someone alleging that Hensley provided some inmates who work in the kitchen with alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday. The caller also alleged Hensley had brought tobacco into the jail, provided it to inmates and planned to do so again Wednesday.
Detectives conducted interviews and corroborated the information, Oliver said. When Hensley arrived for work on Wednesday, jail administrators met with her. Sgt. Nick Kotsopoulos and Oliver interviewed her.
"She admitted that she bought alcohol into the facility on Sunday," Oliver said. He added she admitted bringing tobacco products into the jail for at least the last four months and admitted bringing scissors to jail.
Hensley was arrested after police interviewed her.
Oliver said the suspect was cooperative.
"She said it was stupid that she made mistakes and she obviously realizes she's going to be in trouble for those mistakes," he said.
Hensley was held at the Erie County Jail pending today's arraignment at 9 a.m. at Sandusky Municipal Court.