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Fighting Corruption: Md. Lawmakers Propose Changes After Baltimore Jail Tour

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PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — State lawmakers investigating corruption in the prison system walk through the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Pat Warren tells us what they were looking for, and what they found.

The Baltimore City Detention Center is the only jail in the country that’s run by a state, and that makes the state responsible for whatever is going on in there.

Going to jail. State Lawmakers want to know how Tavon White was able to get up to almost as much criminal activity inside the jail as outside.

“Terrible site lines. You can’t see what’s going on around the corner. You walk down the hall and there’s another cell in another nook and cranny of this really, really old building.”

And inmates and corrections officers apparently used that old building to their advantage; smuggling, in addition to drugs, cell phones, liquor, food and cash.

Cameras monitor the movements of the lawmakers as they move through the jail. A state-of-the-art system updated since the indictment of 25 people, including 13 corrections officers, in the Black Guerrilla Family ring.

“The cameras that are in operation in this facility are extremely important. Not only to look at what the inmates are doing, but what correctional officers are doing as well,” said Sen. Ed DeGrange, (D) Anne Arundel County.

A cafeteria is opening to eliminate the practice of delivering contraband with meals to prisoner’s cells. But lawmakers came away with the conclusion that security upgrades may not be enough, given the condition of the building.

“I think the time has come to start to seriously look at building a new facility and at least get that ball rolling,” said Del. Keiffer Mitchell, (D) Baltimore City.

Parts of the building pre-date the Civil War.

The special Joint Commission will decide what legislation to propose next year.

The suspected leader of the Black Guerrilla Family prison ring is expected to plead guilty in federal court next month.

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