FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY REGARDING ONGOING ACTIONS TO COMBAT GANGS AND ROOT OUT CORRUPTION AT BALTIMORE CITY DETENTION CENTER
ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 9, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today issued the following statement:
“We have zero tolerance for corruption. When members of murder networks are behind bars, the public has every right to expect that they will be prevented from committing further crimes.
“We are continuing to coordinate with our federal law enforcement partners on investigations and prosecutions.
“Further, we are taking the following additional steps to enhance security and root out corruption:
We are expanding the installation of new technology that blocks inmates’ ability to use contraband cell phones from correctional institutions.
We will urge the General Assembly to pass legislation we submitted previously that would make smuggling a cell phone into a correctional institution a felony punishable with additional prison time.
We are enhancing security procedures at the Baltimore City Detention Center to prevent money laundering, smuggling of contraband, and fraternization.
We are reviewing the statewide discipline manual to consider updated policies and measures that will enhance our ability to crack down on correctional officers who violate the public’s trust.
We are reviewing the procedures of the Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights (COBR) with an open mind to any amendments that would improve discipline while ensuring due process.
We will continue to administer polygraph exams to jail personnel to ensure the integrity of the institution.
Six months ago, we appointed a new jail administrator; last week, we removed the security chief; and we will remove all personnel whose job performance or integrity compromises the security of our jail or prisons.”
Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has taken critical steps toward combating gang violence and rooting out corruption in prisons. Together, with our local law enforcement partners, we’ve driven down violent crime to 30-year lows.
In 2011, officials formed the Maryland Joint Prison Task Force, a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel focused on combating gangs and rooting out corruption in Maryland correctional institutions. Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, says “Everybody in the task force anticipated it would result in the prosecution of a significant number of correctional officers.”
The Task Force’s work led to the indictments that were recently handed down. As Rick McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI and a former head of the bureau’s Baltimore office, said: “the federal investigation into gang activity at the jail didn’t gain traction until [Maryland’s Secretary of Public Safety Gary] Maynard appealed for federal help and offered his department’s full cooperation.”
Since FY 2007, inmate-on-staff serious assaults have been driven down 65 percent, and inmate-on-inmate serious assaults have been driven down 47 percent.
In 2007, under Secretary Maynard’s leadership, the Administration closed the House of Correction and began an effort to combat illegal gang activity.
In 2007, DPSCS led a statewide gang and intelligence sharing initiative, and in 2008, formalized the Central Gang Unit to share gang information with local, state, and federal authorities.