Md. panel pushes for more prison gang monitoring
HAGERSTOWN, MD. — Maryland prison officials must do better at monitoring the gang members who comprise 15 percent of the inmate population, a state task force on prison violence said in a report released Tuesday.
The interim report also called for a review of inmate mental health care and said stronger measures are needed to block cell-phone signals and contraband behind bars.
The panel led by state Sen. Verna L. Jones Rodwell, D-Baltimore city, and Delegate Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said it will make formal recommendations in its final report, due Dec. 31.
The task force was created in 2007 following the slayings of two correctional officers and three inmates in 2006. Serious assaults on staff rose to nine in fiscal year 2009 after dropping from 16 in 2006 to six in 2008, the Division of Correction says.
Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Gary Maynard said in 2008 that most violence behind bars stems from gang influence. The report says there are about 3,400 gang members among the state’s 22,000 inmates.
The report also identifies a need to improve mental health care and review practices for medicating psychotic inmates and identifying suicidal inmates.
Tags: gang, Gary Maynard, HAGERSTOWN, Maryland, prison, Sen. Verna L. Jones Rodwell