“You Call This Prison?”

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Media outlets nationwide are looking with understandable disbelief at the Baltimore Prison Scandal.  Baltimore already suffers from an image as a crime-ridden cesspool of corruption, and the charges of inmates fathering babies with guards, expensive vodka delivery to gang leaders and more only makes matters worse.  As the below article posted this morning on The Daily Beast points out, details of the prison scandal would “strain the credulity of HBO.”   We have to agree. -The Eds.

(Published April 26 at 4:45 a.m. on The Daily Beast)

By David Freelander

To call Gary Maynard embattled doesn’t do full justice to the word.

Maryland Prison Chief Gary Maynard. Photo courtesy The Daily Beast.
Maryland Prison Chief Gary Maynard. Photo courtesy The Daily Beast.

The secretary of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services watched this week as the agency he has run for the last six years turned into a national laughingstock after federal officials indicted 13 women who, as guards at the Baltimore City Detention Center, acted like little more than underlings for members of a dangerous prison gang, the Black Guerrilla Family. Four of the correctional officers became reportedly pregnant by the leader of the gang, and two of them had his name tattooed onto their bodies—one on her neck, the other on her wrist.

But in a nearly 90-minute conversation in his office, Maynard, whom state lawmakers have called on to step down, vigorously defended his tenure, saying that it was he who brought in federal investigators once it was revealed that the gang so controlled Baltimore’s jail.

“We know we are opening ourselves up to be publicly embarrassed by a lot of this,” Maynard says. “We asked for this investigation because we knew this was an issue. I knew that. I didn’t have to ask them to come. But we needed some help. The U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI bring some power to the investigation, but once that investigation becomes public, people are going to look at it and say, what is going on here? So we knew that.”

Maynard was brought on by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley as something of a ringer, having previously served as the director of corrections departments in Iowa, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. He has been involved, he said, in numerous prison riots and hostage situations over his three decades overseeing prison systems. He was brought on to reform what had become of one the most dangerous prison systems in the country; one saw the death of two prison officers the year before he took over. That violence has been largely stopped, and now he’s vowed to similarly curb what had become the impermeable barrier between the world outside and inside the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Read Can Maryland Clean-Up Out of Control Jail Corruption?

 



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