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Sec. Of Public Safety & Corrections Addresses Baltimore Detention Center Problems

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s more information on how a dangerous gang took control of the Baltimore City jail with sex and smuggling behind bars. Now, Maryland’s top prison official is speaking out about the widespread corruption and the aggressive moves he’s making.

Vic Carter gets answers from the man at the top.

A notorious gang, the BGF, runs an elaborate sex and smuggling ring behind these prison walls.

A federal indictment charges correctional officers with smuggling in drugs, phones and other contraband. Some even had sex with inmates.

BGF leader Tavon White admits he got four of them pregnant while he was behind bars; two even had his name tattooed on their bodies.

Secretary of Public Safety and Corrections Gay Maynard is the man in charge.

“If you have 13 corrupt officers in jail, you’ve got a problem,” Maynard said. “It’s against the law. It’s against our policies. It’s something we don’t allow but a criminal and a corrupt staff can cause that to happen.”

Federal wiretaps recorded BGF leader Tavon White proclaiming his power behind bars, saying, “This is my jail. My word is law.”

“Untrue. If he said he was running the jail, that’s not true. He was running a racket within the jail with some corrupt correction officers. They had a little segment of a business going. They did not run the jail,” Maynard said. “There’s no way that Tavon White or anybody else was in control of the jail.”

Maynard admits he didn’t take it personally but it was embarrassing.

“It was embarrassing for me but it was nonetheless something I felt like I needed to take responsibility for,” Maynard said. “Anything you take responsibility for, you have power over.”

Maynard says the system works better now than it did six months ago.

“Every new offender that comes in, we run a background on them,” he said. “If they’re a BGF member, we find out what rank, what status in BGF. If they are a player, they move. They’re not in the jail so the population we have in the jail now is far, far better than the population that was here five years ago.”

He makes this promise to the public:

“Today this jail, the Baltimore City Detention Center, runs as good as or better than any jail its size in the country,” Maynard said.

For the first time in months, the Division of Corrections is allowing reporters access to the Baltimore City Detention Center to see the improvements inside. We’ll have that story Thursday.

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