Baltimore Jail Scandal in New Yorker

After the relentless coverage of last year’s scandals at the Baltimore City Detention Center, I thought I’d read all I needed to on the topic. But an in-depth New Yorker article on all the drama? Yeah, I’ll read that. In a heartbeat.

If you’ve followed the case, you’ll already know many of the juicy details–like the fact that many of the corrupt guards were women, and that two different female guards had tattoos with a male prisoner’s name. But odds are, you’ll still enjoy Jeffrey Toobin’s detailed explication of how cell phones served as currency, how drugs got smuggled in, and how female prison employees were manipulated by older male inmates. He also discusses the many health and safety issues at the 200-year old prison, and the history of the Black Guerilla Family.

As one of Toobin’s sources puts it, “They would have these girls eighteen or twenty years old as guards, and everyone knew that the gangs had recruited them to work inside. Baltimore is a very small town. Everyone knows everyone.”

Toobin’s article does seem aimed at the kind of New Yorker reader who thoroughly enjoyed The Wire, and has more of an appetite for stories of corruptions and drugs from Baltimore. Sure, it’s a story that those of us who live here sometimes get weary of. But let’s be honest — it’s a great story, and Toobin tells it well. The full article is behind a paywall at the moment; if you want to read the full thing, pick up this week’s issue of the New Yorker.