jail-cell

You might have thought, as I did, that the recent Baltimore prison scandal — in which a drug-running gang was somehow able to take over the Baltimore City Detention Center — was the most shameful episode in the history of Maryland prisons. But the inmates-running-the-asylum shenanigans of the Black Guerrilla Family are almost cute compared with a decades-long Maryland policy that routinely put dangerous, violent people back on the street.

According to the Washington Post, new evidence in the 1982 murder of Stefanie Sue Watson implicates John Ernest Walsh, a convicted rapist and kidnapper who was paroled after serving less than 10 years of a 72-year sentence. Not long after sentencing, Walsh was designated a “Defective Delinquent.” That got him out of a conventional prison and into the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, a facility aimed at the rehabilitation of convicts through psychotherapy. And from 1955 to 1988-ish, Patuxent had the ability to parole whomever they saw fit without consulting the Department of Corrections.

If Walsh is guilty of Watson’s murder, he committed it “just months” after being deemed sufficiently rehabilitated. And unfortunately, you’ll have to add him to the list violent criminals who struck again shortly after passing through the Patuxent Institution.