A serving prison officer is being investigated by her bosses for speaking out about conditions inside Lewes Prison.

Kim Lennon, 47, from Lewes, revealed problems with overcrowding and staff shortages to The Argus earlier this month.

Four days later she received a letter from the prison governor Nigel Foote telling her he had ordered an investigation due to allegations she had “failed to meet the required standards of behaviour expected of staff”.

He has asked investigators to look into allegations Ms Lennon “has potentially discredited the Prison Service by disclosing official information”.

The investigation is also prompted by allegations she used “abusive language over the telephone” to another member of prison staff “causing distress”, the documents seen by The Argus reveal.

The letter does not say what her punishment could be.

Ms Lennon, currently signed off work sick due to stress, said she does not regret speaking out.

She said: “I have told the truth. If I get fired for that I think that would be unjust.

“The staff are behind me but a lot have not been brave enough to speak out.

“I am a good officer and I am sick to death of the way prisoners and staff have been treated.

“I will defend my job because I love my job, but at the moment I am taking it one day at a time.”

Ms Lennon, who has worked at Lewes for ten years, told The Argus staff were demoralised, overworked, up to 20 were off sick and drugs use was “rife” inside the male-only prison.

She spoke to The Argus on the same day that chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick revealed a rapid rise in prisoner suicide rates were due to overcrowding and staff shortages.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment during an ongoing disciplinary process.”