BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After being shut down by the governor in 2015, what has been called the worst jail in the country is about to be torn down.

The Baltimore City Detention Center, where gang members once ruled, will be removed, but some of the building’s historic architecture will be spared.

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Conditions inside the jail called Gov. Larry Hogan to call it a disaster of a facility and an embarrassment to the state, with dozens of health and safety code violations.

“The roof was crumbling, the facility consistently faced serious flooding and sewage issues,” Hogan said at an event outside the jail Thursday morning. “For years, there were complaints about blind corners which were such a serious safety hazard for correctional officers and other employees.”

In June, the Board of Public Works gave the go-ahead for the $27 million demolition, a project expected to take 14 months.

The stone tower will remain.


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Thursday, Hogan took the first crack at bringing the old jail down. A new treatment center housing 1,400 people struggling with addiction and mental health issues will replace it, the governor’s office said.


Hogan said the facility will be an important resource in the fight against opioid addiction, providing help and hope for those in need.

“Leaders in the legislature said it would take 10 years to close this jail,” Hogan said. “We shut the jail down in just a few weeks.”

Perhaps no name is more strongly associated with the jail than Tavon White, the inmate-turned-federal witness who ran a lucrative drug empire from his cell.

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His testimony put more than a dozen police officers behind bars and exposed just how bad the corruption had become.