By Alex DeMetrick

JESSUP, Md. (WJZ) — Old, notorious and dangerous. And now it’s coming down.

Alex DeMetrick reports Maryland’s House of Correction in Jessup is being demolished cell block by cell block.

From the outside, it might not look like the first inmates were housed in this prison in 1879. But a look inside shows its age.

Maryland’s House of Correction in Jessup kept tens of thousands of prisoners locked up over the decades, until wear and tear and increasing violence shut it down.

In 2007, inmates were moved to other prisons. Plans went into motion for the demolition of the Jessup prison.

“Not only was I the last warden, I started here in 1975 as a line correctional officer. I’ve got mixed emotions, I have a lot of memories of the facility, good and bad,” said Gary Horndaker, former warden.

For the past two and a half years, inmates from other facilities have been helping to tear down this prison.

“This is the first real job a lot of these inmates have ever had and can take pride in what they’ve done,” said Gregg Hershberger, Sec. Public Safety and Corrections.

Before the wrecking ball ever dropped, inmates became certified in asbestos removal and deconstruction, removing $5 million worth of metal for recycling.

“And it trains you and prepares you for a paying, gainful job. You know, it’s a positive thing. I’m really grateful to be part of the program,” said Kieth Larichiuta, inmate.

Opportunity that didn’t always exist here once.

“But it was time. It had served its purpose,” Horndaker said.

Once demolition is complete, there are no plans to build a prison or anything else. Unlike the cells and walls, the property will remain open ground.

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