Baltimore City Detention Center update

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services released details Wednesday on the administration's plan to resolve a gang issue at the Baltimore city jail.

The complete release is available below.


• The top three administrators at BCDC have completed their tests.
• Within days, 65 more correctional supervisors are subject to polygraphs.
• According to the Correctional Officers' Bill of Rights, all correctional officers must take polygraphs if asked, or face discipline.
• The polygraphs take a minimum of 90 minutes, and are administered by the Maryland State Police under DPSCS Internal Investigative Unit guidelines.


• Every detainee at BCDC is being evaluated for security threat potential.
• Those with unusually long stays (due to court activity) have been evaluated and will be moved if necessary.
• 25 suspected gang leaders and dangerous detainees had been moved out to other facilities in the three months prior to the federal indictments.

Personnel Policy and Training

• The Department is conducting a thorough review of all personnel policies and practices, including those related to hiring.
• In recent months, the Department has expanded and re-written the curriculum in its correctional academies to include nine additional days of training and extensive courses on fraternization and ethics.
• Every single BCDC correctional officer employee performance review is being scrutinized.
• All correctional supervisors from lieutenant through major are being evaluated.

Security Improvements and Physical Plant
• Every Department Security/Program Review Team has been deployed to BCDC to assess policies and procedures.
• Search policies and entrance security are two critical areas of study.
• Effective immediately,  regional search teams will rotate through BCDC so as not to rely solely on staff stationed at that facility.

The following information is to provide background on the DPSCS six-year effort to create safe prisons. For even more information, please see our website.

DPSCS Institutional Safety Background: 6 Years of Progress

Focus on Gangs = Less Violence
DPSCS led the formation of the MD Prison Taskforce that started in 2011, partnering with federal, state and local law enforcement stakeholders.
This partnership continues to root out corruption within the prison system.
In 2007, DPSCS led a statewide gang and intelligence sharing initiative.
In 2008, DPSCS formalized the Corrections Gang Unit, and formalized sharing gang information local, state, and federal authorities.
Since 2010, DPSCS has employed a full-time gang intelligence analyst to track gang activity.
•           7,365 gang members have been validated since 2007.
These efforts and a focus on contraband interdiction have driven number of serious assaults since FY 2007:
•           Inmate-on-staff serious assaults down 65%. Inmate-on-inmate serious assaults down 47%.
Assistance to Local/Federal Prosecutors
We have increased our Internal Investigative Unit staff, giving us more investigative teeth, including oversight of our cell phone forensics lab.
Today the evidence gleaned from captured cell phones is coordinated by sworn officers, and being used to build prosecutions.
These efforts and intelligence sharing has become integral to gaining convictions for many Black Guerilla Family gang members in the past two years.
Since 2009, about 40 BGF members have been convicted as a result of our cooperation with federal prosecutors.
Approximately 450 cases of inmates caught with illegal cell phones have been adjudicated, with about a 60% conviction rate.
Rooting out Corrupt Staff
Since 2010, because of our hyper focus on gangs and corruption, we've been able to root out and get rid of 89 correctional officers for inmate fraternization or contraband.
DPSCS Detention Institutional Safety
Decreasing Assaults on Staff & Inmates:
•           3 serious assaults on staff in FY12; 1 through March FY13
•           27 serious assaults on inmates/detainees in FY12; 8 through March FY13
Better Staff Training
Revamped and expanded the Correctional Entry Level Training program in FY12.
Recruits undergo 35 days of training, more scenario-based exercises, with an intensive focus on corruption including classes on inmate behavior and fraternization.
In FY10 the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions implemented new regulations to check gang membership of prospective correctional officers.
Correctional Officer Background Investigations
Correctional Officer candidate background checks utilizes state and national criminal information systems, including:
•           MD Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), and federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC);
•           FBI and state database fingerprints checks;
•           Investigations through multiple national and local Gang Databases;
•           Thorough local and national warrant searches;
•           All applicants checked against DPSCS inmate phone system to determine any communication with inmates.
82.6% of correctional officer applicants in the DPSCS Central Region (including Baltimore City/County) do not clear the background investigations.
Contraband Interdiction
Capturing contraband cell phones which allow inmates to circumvent intelligence efforts, is a top priority. Through a multi-faceted approach, MD is a leader in cell phone interdiction:
•           In 2009 DPSCS invested $1.1 million in entrance security technology.
•           1,312 cell phones captured in FY12 - 77% increase over FY07.
•           In FY12, 19% of the total cells phone confiscated before getting in the hands of inmates.
•           159 phones captured in FY12 by cell phone sniffing K9 units.
•           Testing electronic cell phone suppression and detection pilot program in Baltimore City.
Recruitment/Employee Retention
Safer institutions, better recruitment efforts, and smarter utilization of custody staff posts have helped keep Correctional Officer vacancies down.
While there are less 129 less CO pins than there were in 2007, when you factor in vacancies, we are actually staffed higher on monthly average than we were in 2007.
Toulson Boot Camp, which averaged a population of 300 inmates, was shut down in 2009. This accounts for some of the lost CO PINs.
CO I, II, III positions (these are direct front line custody positions not kitchen/commissary/maintenance staff which are also COs but are not direct custody):
DPSCS-wide FY2007 – 6,344 with avg. of around 585 vacancies per month or 9.2%. That = 5,759 avg. monthly staff.
DPSCS-wide FY2012 – 6,215 with avg. of around 142 vacancies per month or 2.3%. That = 6,073 avg. monthly staff.

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