BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There have been a rash of violent incidents inside Maryland prisons. Two corrections officers were severely beaten and another was sexually assaulted.
Adam May looks into what’s behind the danger.
A corrections officer at the Baltimore Detention Center was sexually assaulted by an inmate. Another in Jessup was left with broken bones after he was stomped in the head by an inmate acting up in the prison kitchen. In Cumberland, a third officer was beaten by an angry inmate busted with pornography.
“The inmate for no reason punched him, broke his jaw. He was hospitalized,” said Maryland Secretary of Public Safety Gary Maynard.
Maynard says despite these violent attacks over the last five days, serious assaults on prison staff are at their lowest level in five years. But still, safety is becoming a hot topic among corrections officers.
“I met with a group this morning of supervisors who work in the department and we talked about these issues, how important is following policy, make sure people are trained, supervised,” Maynard said.
These attacks come five years after two corrections officers were killed by inmates. Then and now, union leaders say staffing shortages are creating a dangerous work environment.
Since 2007, the number of officers on the job each month has increased by more than 300, but if every open position in the prison system was filled, there would actually be 130 fewer corrections officers in the state than in 2007.
“Our main thing, we don’t want to see tragic events,” said Patrick Moran.
The corrections officers union fears another David McQuinn or Jeffrey Wroton, both murdered in separate attacks by inmates in 2006.
“We need to give these people that do this dangerous job the ability to control the situation to the best of their ability. The more resources, the better they can do that,” Moran said.
A corrections official says the union is exaggerating their staffing concerns but the union says even at full staffing, there aren’t enough boots on the ground.
So far this year, 150 inmates have also been seriously assaulted inside prisons. That’s compared to 177 for the entire year of 2010.