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Union For Correctional Officers Criticizes State Over Security Threats

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Another assault on a correctional officer at the maximum security prison in Western Maryland has union officials demanding three directors be fired.

Pat Warren reports officials reportedly knew in advance that a threat had been made against the officer.

The Department of Public Safety is under fire. North Branch Correctional was on lockdown after a correctional officer was stabbed after a written threat from an inmate.

In a letter written to a prison official, the inmate threatens two correctional officers.

“We are both men of power,” he writes. “Though not the main man, I do run security in this prison and when I say move, my men move.”

He added, “Remove these two officers or I will take action into my own hands with body harm on those two officers.”

One of the officers was stabbed Monday by an inmate serving life.

“The gangs are very prevalent in the facilities and they run hit squads, they run drugs, they do whatever they can in order to achieve power in the facilities and that’s who’s coming after the officers,” said AFSCME President Pat Moran.

Those power plays were prevalent in the Baltimore City jail, where 25 people–including 13 officers–have been indicted in a drug ring. More than a dozen officers have been assaulted in North Branch, a maximum security prison in Western Maryland.

“It’s dangerous,” Moran said.

In its preliminary investigation, Public Safety and Correctional Services admits that a threat against the injured officer was made and that the employee may not have been notified of the threat as required by policy.

The department says appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if staff are found to have violated the notification policy.

“Over the last 30 days, we’ve seen 15 assaults on officers,” Moran said.

Since the indictments, Baltimore City jail has increased security. The officers’ union is looking for drastic changes at North Branch, as well.

“Meet with the front line staff, the officers that are doing the work to figure out a comprehensive security plan to deal with this issue,” Moran said.

The department says it will not disclose any further information until the investigation is concluded.

According to the Department of Public Safety, serious assaults are down 60 percent and accusations that it has changed the way it counts those assaults are false.

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