State prison chief: "I would do it exactly the same way"

Legislature holds hearing on BCDC scandal

In a hearing in front of state lawmakers, the head of Maryland's prison system said he wouldn't change a thing about his department's handling of the Baltimore City Detention Center scandal -- even after federal authorities charged 13 correctional officers with conspiring with gang members there.

"The recent indictments are a direct result of the efforts made by our department, supported by the governor over the past three years," Sec. Gary Maynard said during his prepared testimony.

He continued:  "If I had to do it over again I would do it exactly the same way."

The way his department did it -- partnering with the FBI and other state and federal agencies -- led to the arrest of 13 correctional officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

They are charged with helping gang members by bringing in contraband including drugs and cell phones.

Four of those officers wound up pregnant with the children of detainee Tavon White.  The FBI identified White as the leader or "Bushman" of the Black Guerilla Family gang at the facility.

Maynard says the problem was confined to the corrupt correctional officers.

"The issue was 13 corrupt correctional officers who did not control the jail they had their own activities going on.  They were the problem in this situation," he said.

But it may have spread to their supervisors; the head of security at the BCDC, Shavella Miles, has been dismissed.

"We came upon the security chief that didn't pass the polygraph, didn't pass the interview. We removed her," Maynard said.

Miles' attorney has told ABC-2 News she will fight her dismissal.  So far Miles is the only jail administrator to face discipline.

Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein also testified.  He asked legislators to consider adding more judges to the city's circuit court, to try and cut the length of time detainees spend at BCDC before their trials.

"As we have seen, the inmates and pre-trial detainees who are charged with serious felonies if they are there for a longer period of time it allows them to build these corrupt relationships and that's what we have to try to stop," Bernstein said.

Maynard said since the news of those indictments broke in April, there have been changes to security procedures at the detention center as they try to keep contraband such as cell phones out.

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