Reporting Pat Warren
CUMBERLAND, Md. (WJZ) — More criticism aimed at the state’s prison system. Twelve officers at the maximum security facility in Cumberland have been assaulted since June.
Pat Warren reports–the union representing correctional officers wants more done to protect them.
None of the injuries are reported to be serious, but union officials say employees have lost faith in the system.
Governor O’Malley and State Corrections Secretary Gary Maynard are already under fire for failures in the prison system that allowed the Black Guerrilla Family gang to operate with the help of correctional officers in the Baltimore City Detention Center.
“A federal investigation involving this many partners and going after a network like this is not like getting a cheeseburger at a McDonald’s drive-thru window. These things do take time,” the governor said.
And trouble continues. Twelve correctional officers at the maximum security prison in Cumberland have been assaulted since June. Some attacks allegedly by inmates affiliated with gangs.
AFSCME Union president Pat Moran is demanding action.
“They need to act sternly and they need to consult the people on the front lines when they’re acting. Because they aren’t now and look what’s happening. It’s total and complete chaos, and people’s lives are at stake,” he said.
Lawmakers touring the city detention center Thursday were asked if this could be related to the shakeup in Baltimore. This special commission is looking at several aspects of the corrections department.
“Obviously, we have the same gangs everywhere in the state of Maryland. They’re in all the facilities. So it’s just a matter of isolating the top people in the gangs,” said Del. John Cluster, (R) Baltimore County.
In response to AFSCME’s complaint, the department states:
“Secretary Gary Maynard and Deputy Secretary Mike Stouffer have both been personally involved with the strategies to deal with the recent increase in violence at North Branch. Nothing is being done in chaos or disorder. The department’s top priority is to keep officers at North Branch and everywhere safe.”
And Governor O’Malley has the numbers.
“In terms of the 65 percent reduction in serious inmate on staff assaults,” he said.
Safety, he says, is their top concern.
Safety measures include moving the most problematic offenders out of the state.