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Corruption Scandal Aftermath: New Plan Would Redevelop Baltimore City Detention Center

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)— Sex, drugs and corruption all behind bars. The scandal rocked the Baltimore City Detention Center, and just Tuesday the head of the Department of Corrections stepped down. Now there’s a slew of new proposals to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the new recommendations.

A 14-member panel of delegates and senators laid out the first 18 recommendations to get the Baltimore Center Detention Center back under control.

“This is an extremely important issue that’s been discussed for a long time,” said Sen. James DeGrange, D-Anne Arundel County.

The commission is recommending pre-trial inmates undergo risk assessment tests to determine their likelihood to promote violence behind bars.

“It’s almost like profiling. No, I don’t support it because there’s no way of determining what’s the risk assessment available for the purposes of saying, ‘This guy has a likelihood of committing a crime behind bars,’” said Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City.

These changes hope to prevent inmates like Tavon White from operating a contraband smuggling business from behind bars.

White pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges after he admitted to using correctional officers to sell inmates marijuana, prescription drugs and even cell phones in jail.

Twenty-seven correctional officers have been indicted in the last seven months. They’re accused of hiding contraband in their hair, shoes and even their private parts.

“It was so many of them that are involved,” one woman testified.

As a result, the board is hoping body scanners become part of the screening process. But that suggestion was quickly criticized by former Secretary of Public Safety Gary Maynard.

“It is a privacy issue. I feel confident that we can save that great amount of money and move forward with a canine operation and continue the policies we have for search,” Maynard said.

Maynard, who announced his resignation Tuesday, believes the recommendations, if implemented, could help put the jail back in the hands of the state and out of the control of the Black Guerrilla Family gang.

There is a recommendation on the table to support a $533 million plan over 10 years to redevelop the old Baltimore City Detention Center.

Another suggestion includes a $296 million replacement of the Men’s Detention Center. It would be built in three phases beginning in fiscal year 2019, and a $96 million replacement of the Women’s Detention Center. Construction would begin in fiscal year 2018.

The plan urges the state to enhance safety and security until the new facilities are built, including replacing manually operated corridor doors.

The recommendations come from a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services report issued in June. They will be forwarded to the General Assembly in January.

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