Tag: prisons

Hogan administration commits to get more jobs for ex-offenders to keep them from returning to prison

The Hogan administration is jumping with both feet into efforts to reduce the prison population and make re-entry of ex-convicts into society easier by getting them jobs. Simultaneously with a release from Gov. Larry Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford announced the formation of a new task force to review the legal barriers that people with a criminal record face when re-entering the community after time in prison.

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Rascovar: Prison layoffs another example of ready, fire, aim?

A real-life drama — and personal tragedy — played out last week when the Maryland Board of Public Works took up the Hogan administration’s request to fire 59 state workers who don’t deserve to be coldly thrown out of their jobs. Most of them have earned sterling performance reviews. They have worked diligently for the state responsibly handling personnel matters. Yet now they have been accused — unfairly and without a whisper of truth — of being part of the state prison system’s “rampant criminal activity” and “corruption.”

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In the wake of prison scandal, legislators discuss reforms — body scanners, wiretaps, polygraphs

Body scanners and phone wiretaps throughout Maryland’s prison system are the latest in a series of legislative proposals being considered by lawmakers trying to eliminate corruption in the state’s correctional facilities.

Other suggestions include polygraph tests for correctional officer applicants and mandatory minimum sentences for convicted contraband smugglers.

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War on drugs fostered mass incarceration

Forty years ago, 204,211 people were held by U.S. prison authorities; in 2011, there were 1.6 million, a 780% increase while the U.S. population as a whole had grown by about 50%. A new book produced by the Justice Policy Institute in Washington, “Incarceration Generation” documents how, why and to whom that happened. It gathers commentary from 19 researchers, advocates and people who have personally experienced the system, including an ex-cop and an ex-con who spoke in Baltimore Wednesday night.

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High incarceration rates punish taxpayers as well, panelists say

Law enforcement, policymakers and justice advocates said Monday that excessive incarceration of blacks and other people of color is not only a moral injustice but doesn’t make economic sense for taxpayers. The Maryland State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights met in Annapolis to hear testimony on the disproportionate number of blacks incarcerated in Maryland and across the nation and its associated costs.

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Despite protests, $600 million contract for inmate health care approved

Despite a strong protest, the Board of Public Works unanimously awarded a $598 million contract to provide health services to 26,000 prison inmates over the next five years to Wexford Health Sources of Pittsburgh. As prison officials advised, it rejected the bid by Corizon Inc. of St. Louis, which has been providing two-thirds of the services to the prisoners for the last seven years.

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Your tax dollars at work: Prison officials unveil high-tech strip search

If a Maryland prison inmate has a handcuff key up his nose, a razor blade in his mouth or a cell phone hidden where the sun don’t shine, then the BOSS is going to get him, state corrections officials hope.

That’s why they’re spending $178,000 on 24 Body Orifice Security Scanners (BOSS) as part of a $1.1 million purchase of enhanced security devices to cut down on prison violence. The purchase includes 1,000 protective vests for correctional officers at $431,000; 12 SecureView Scanners that locates contraband in clothing at $108,000; and 18 X-ray scanners at $436,000.

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