In announcing that he would shut down the men’s jail of the Baltimore City Detention Center “as expeditiously as possible,” Gov. Larry Hogan apparently left the legislature out of the decision. Considering they have been working on closing down the jail themselves, a pair of state senators weren’t happy about that decision.
Shortly before the governor’s Thursday afternoon announcement, Senators James Ed DeGrange and Guy Guzzone, both Democrats who chair a commission on state corrections, said they only received word about Hogan’s plan through stories from WBAL-TV and the Baltimore Sun that circulated before the press conference.
The Senators’ commission developed a 10-year plan to close the men’s facility of the Baltimore City Detention Center, which is aging and notorious for corruption following the 2013 BGF scandal.
“Consistently, the Governor has circumvented the Legislature rather than working together to find bipartisan and consensus-driven solutions,” the statement said. “Our bipartisan commission spent long hours reviewing the facility needs of BCDC in order to develop a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the facility, and would have been able to provide input into this process.”
The statement later accused Hogan of “making large scale decisions behind closed doors and without input of others.”
At his press conference, Hogan said that he didn’t even read the commission’s report, and said he ordered the closure to insure it happened quickly.
“The General Assembly decided it was going to take 10 years. We think we can do it in a couple of weeks,” Hogan said. “We know it’s the right decision”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office issued a two-sentence statement indicating she hadn’t heard from the governor’s office, either.
“The Mayor has long had concerns about the condition of this facility,” the statement said. “She looks forward to hearing more details from Governor Hogan’s administration about its plans.”
During his press conference Hogan also jabbed previous administrations for failing to close the jail. But he also said he was equally confounded about why he has control over the jail in the first place.
“By many accounts, the Baltimore City Detention Center is the worst prison in America, and it is the only city prison run by a state government in the entire country,” he said.