Karen Betts

Episode 2.2 – 5.13; 6.10 – 6.12

Wing Governor (Series 2 – 3; 5)
Principal Officer (Series 4)


A former nurse, Karen Betts joined the WRAF aged seventeen before joining a hospital with her nursing qualifications. A divorcee, she has a grown-up son, Ross.

A working class woman, Karen pushed herself up the career path – she came up the ranks in the prison system and this her advantage: Karen cares about the women with genuine interest, but isn’t a push over. Karen’s gutsy – she’ll deal with even the most dangerous inmates, but is also aware of the problems facing the prison system, and the faults with its officers.

Karen’s got no patience for the “Old Boys Network”, but unlike predecessor Helen, she’s more pragmatic in her dealings with them. Although Karen’s not one to put up with bullshit, her personal life is a different story: her taste in men is disasterous – just look at Jim Fenner and Ritchie Atkins!

Although she enjoyed a relationship with Jim Fenner, it soon turned into an all out war after he raped her. Unfortunately for Karen, Jim seemed to gain the upper hand when he framed her for a hit-and-run. Neil and Karen eventually managed to find evidence to clear her and put Jim in prison – but the smug bastard wriggled out of trouble once more!

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It has been announced that Kate O'Mara - aka Virginia O'Kane - has passed away.

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