Editorial Cartoon

Now that Gov. Hogan has announced plans to “immediately” close the scandal plagued Men’s Detention Center housed in the Baltimore City Detention Center, questions must be asked.

Namely, why did it take so long? Report after report has pointed out the inhumane conditions that persisted at the jail as well as the scandal of Black Guerrilla Family gang members being so in control that they were able to run a drug smuggling business with the aid of guards.

As Hogan pointed out while announcing the closing, “For years, Maryland taxpayers were unwittingly underwriting a vast criminal enterprise run by gang members and corrupt public servants. Ignoring it was irresponsible, and one of the biggest failures in leadership in Maryland history.”

Baltimore and Maryland leaders have expressed disappointment at not being involved in the Governor’s decision to close the jail. But these problems were not new and action should have been taken years ago. How could they have allowed them to fester for so long? Was it a case of out of sight, out of mind?

Hogan’s plan is light on details so far. Where will the prisoners go? Will it be to a jail that inmate family members, particularly those in the Baltimore area, will be able to get to in a reasonable fashion? At the moment, there are more questions than answers. But at least a first step has been finally taken to eliminate a highly visible embarrassment that has for far too long been indescribably and unexplainably disregarded.