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DEER LODGE — A former Montana State Prison correctional officer and an inmate were sentenced in Deer Lodge District Court on a felony charge of transferring illegal articles — a cell phone. A separate charge for illegal transfer of tobacco was dismissed.

Nichole Cheyenne Dyer, 24, of Drummond was a correctional officer at MSP on June 17, 2016 when fellow officers found a cell phone in the cell of inmate Alfred Joseph Smith, 36, in High Side Unit 2. The inmate worked in the laundry with other inmates, and according to court records numerous reports were made by staff members prior to the incident that Dyer spent an inordinate amount of time with the man and other laundry workers.

After initially pleading not guilty to the charge, Dyer changed her plea to guilty and admitting giving Smith the cell phone.

Dyer was sentenced to 13 months commitment to Dept. of Corrections with seven months suspended. Following testimony by her parents and letters of support, prison staff and probation officers, Judge Ray Dayton stated there are two Nichole Dyers — one who really cares about her family and is an upstanding member of society, and the one who continues to reach out to inmates. He specified that a mental health evaluation and treatment be part of her sentence.

Alfred Smith was sentenced to 13 months in MSP or Dept. of Corrections, with no parole restrictions, consecutive to the sentence he is currently serving for burglary and escape.

Powell County Deputy County Attorney Patrick Moody said the County Attorney’s office will actively prosecute any prison staff member, if there is sufficient evidence, because of the risk a corrupt staff member is to the institution and community.

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