NEW ORLEANS — Two Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies are no longer on the force and two state work-release inmates have been returned to the penitentiary after the deputies and inmates were caught having improper physical contact, a sheriff’s office spokesman said.

Ariel Breaux resigned while under investigation and Quiera Joseph was fired this week after a disciplinary hearing, spokesman Philip Stelly said.

Breaux and Joseph joined the sheriff’s office as jail guards in 2017 and received their police officer training certification in May. They were suspended in August.

In multiple separate incidents, Breaux and Joseph were caught hooking up with the inmates at times when the inmates were supposed to be working at jobs in the community, the sheriff’s office said.

The unidentified inmates have been yanked from the work-release program and sent back to state prison to complete their sentences, officials said.

Unlike a sheriff’s office deputy who was criminally charged with malfeasance in 2017 for having sex with an inmate while on duty, Breaux and Joseph were not subject to criminal charges because they were off-duty, the sheriff’s office said.

“We've been here before with improper contact between deputies and those detained in the jail, and the fact that this has just happened just two years ago and it's happening again on an even larger scale now, points to there has not been improvements in the leadership of the jail,” said Sade Dumas of the watchdog group Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition.

In the unrelated 2017 case, Oshen Heilman pleaded guilty to malfeasance, sexual malfeasance in prison and multiple contraband charges for her ongoing relationship with an inmate. Heilman was sentenced to three years probation.

Attempts to contact Breaux and Joseph were unsuccessful.