Actions on Rooting Out Corruption at BCDC

June 9, 2013


Governor Martin O’Malley today announced actions already taken since the indictments at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC), as well as a plan that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) will enact moving forward to combat gangs and root out corruption at all Maryland prisons.

“Like all Marylanders, I am outraged by the criminal wrongdoing at the Baltimore City Detention Center,” said Governor O’Malley. “Our coordinated efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement partners have helped combat gangs, reduce violence, and root out corruption. We understand there is more work to do – and we are working every day – to build the public’s confidence in our prison system.”

The chart below outlines the Administration’s actions since the indictments at BCDC, and a plan moving forward to address corruption in Maryland’s prisons and improve public safety through efforts to fight cell phones and contraband; leadership and correctional changes; and intelligence and security:

Actions Taken Since Indictments Actions Moving Forward Efforts to Fight Cell Phones and Contraband – Revised front entrance search teams that rotate between facilities

– Fingerprinting identity checks (Fast ID) on all visitors at BCDC to confirm identity

– Upgraded security cameras throughout BCDC Center to provide 45 hours of recording capability

– Install cell phone blocking technology at BCDC

– Re-introduce bill to increase penalties for illegal cell phones

– Purchase additional cell phone data extraction equipment to improve analysis of contraband cell phone intelligence

– Deploy FastID fingerprinting for visitors Statewide

Leadership and Organizational Changes -Secretary moved office to BCDC

– Began top to bottom personnel review at BCDC

– Fired Security Chief

– Emphasized existing employee hotline for reporting misconduct and corruption

– Augmenting supervisor training on disciplinary policies

-Revise pre-employment character test to focus on ethics and integrity

– Create polygraph unit for CO applicants

– Expand background checks on applicants

– Revise all policy and post orders at BCDC

Intelligence and Security -Formed City Correctional Investigative unit with Baltimore City State’s Attorney and Maryland State

– Unifying Internal Investigations Unit (IIU) and intelligence by moving intelligence division to IIU.

– Started randomized computer system for staff searches

– Moved 31 high risk detainees from BCDC to other Departmental facilities

-Technological improvements to investigative tracking system

– Hire 8 additional IIU detectives and 4 additional intelligence analysts to increase investigative powers

– Investigate deploying full body scanners to each facility

Working together with local law enforcement partners, we’ve driven down violent crime to 30-year lows. Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has taken critical steps toward combating gang violence and rooting out corruption in prisons:

The Administration is taking action to purge corrupt correctional officers. The average annual number of correctional officers terminated during the O’Malley-Brown Administration is nearly 50 percent higher than under the previous administration.

• In 2011, officials formed the Maryland Joint Prison Task Force, a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel focused on combating gangs and rooting out corruption in Maryland correctional institutions. Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, says “Everybody in the task force anticipated it would result in the prosecution of a significant number of correctional officers.” (Baltimore Sun, April 30, 2013)

• In 2012, DPSCS captured 77 percent more cell phones than it did in 2007 through the use of K9s and other strategies.

• In 2009, DPSCS invested in a cellular forensics lab to extract intelligence from contraband phones, and hired dedicated a cell phone investigator to build prosecutions against people caught with illegal cell phones. Since then, 1,038 charges have been filed, with 618 adjudications netting a 59 percent guilty rate.

• Since FY 2007, inmate-on-staff serious assaults have been driven down 65 percent, and inmate-on-inmate serious assaults have been driven down 47 percent.

• In 2007, under Secretary Maynard’s leadership, the Administration closed the House of Correction and began an effort to combat illegal gang activity.

• In 2007, DPSCS led a statewide gang and intelligence sharing initiative, and in 2008, formalized the Central Gang Unit to share gang information with local, state, and federal authorities.

• Since 2009, DPSCS has employed a full-time gang intelligence analyst to track gang activity. We established the Automated Gang Intel Database, and have identified almost 7,400 gang members since 2007.

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