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General Assembly Looks At Ways To Cut Crime Behind Bars

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The General Assembly is looking at ways to eliminate gang activity in the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports lawmakers are casting a wide net.

State lawmakers want to know how alleged Black Guerrilla Family prison gang leader Tavon White was able to get up to almost as much criminal activity inside the jail as outside.

“Terrible site lines,” said Del. Luke Clippinger, (D) Baltimore. “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 very, very old building.”

Inmates and correctional officers apparently used that old building to their advantage while smuggling drugs, cell phones, liquor, food and tobacco.

Cameras monitored the movements of the lawmakers in July as they moved through the jail on a state-of-the-art system, which was updated since dozens of indictments were handed down.

“Cameras that are in operation in this facility – it’s 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.

Proposed solutions offered in a hearing Wednesday include polygraph tests for people applying for jobs as correctional officers, the use of body scanners to detect contraband smuggled in body cavities, additional jail time for inmates and criminal penalties for anyone caught smuggling cell phones and ways to eliminate the sex between officers and inmates.

Two bills have been introduced. More are coming.

Maryland operates the Baltimore City Detention Center, the only city jail in the country run by a state.

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