By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The feds have taken over the former Supermax prison in Baltimore and Maryland is getting $20 million to build two new state prisons in Jessup.

Mary Bubala reports the deal was announced Tuesday, but the exchange has already taken place.

Quietly over the past several months, more than 400 federal defendants have been transferred to the new Supermax prison in Baltimore.  As state inmates have been quietly transferred out to other facilities across Maryland, the new federal detainees are all awaiting trial and, for the first time, the U.S. Marshals service doesn’t have to traipse across the region to transport them to the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Baltimore and Greenbelt.

“When the marshals were transporting defendants from 20 different locations, it creates logistical problems and a security danger, because all those folks had to be brought in to Baltimore or Greenbelt when they are needed for trial.  Also, it was a managerial challenge for the U.S. Marshal service to keep track of these folks in different facilities,” said U.S. State’s Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein said that for years, the U.S. Justice Department rented bed space from jails across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.  The going rate was about $200 a night, but the Supermax plan ends that at a time when Maryland is seeing federal felony prosecutions rise to an all-time high.  Last year, our state had 972 federal prosecutions.  Just 15 years ago, that number stood at only 582. 

“Often our federal defendants end up meeting with federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors to cooperate in cases against other criminals, so it’s important for them to be available for all those reasons.  Also for the defendants and their family members who want to meet with them while they are awaiting trial.  It’s much more difficult if they are spread throughout the state,” Rosenstein said.

The state of Maryland will build two new minimum security prisons in Jessup with $20 million in federal funding and $26 million in state funding.

Comments (7)
  1. shannon norris says:

    I think it’s a shame that MD. Can afford to build new prisons, but claim there’s no money for the schools!!!

  2. Will Keller says:

    how about prevention vs detention. Although if it’s too late for them i’d want to make damn sure they’re secure every step of the way.

  3. toe says:

    maryland was getting $200 per night from the feds to RENT a friggin jail cell? are you serious

  4. jesse neal says:

    build more prisons to accodomate thes prisoners in maryland. thaa

  5. Joel Gallihue says:

    With all the transportation investment going into 175 for BRAC we are going to build prisons that would do just fine in the middle of nowhere? The old prison lands are a fantastic economic development opportunity being ignored by this proposal.

  6. ep says:

    just what we need more prisons and less schools how crazy that sound

  7. DD says:

    With the way the economy is I can’t believe they are dumpling so much money into prisons. Oh, by the way, they are cutting schools. They can put them all in a cinder block building for all I care.

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