New jail looms for Glen Burnie 650-bed facility pushed by Neall

January 18, 1992|By John A. Morris

As Anne Arundel County places the finishing touches on a 196-bed addition to its Annapolis jail, County Executive Robert R. Neall is proposing a 650-bed detention center in Glen Burnie.

The proposed $80 million jail would be built on the site of an old U.S. Army depot on New Ordnance Road, just south of the Baltimore Beltway, said Neall aide Walter Chitwood yesterday.

To accommodate a growing inmate population, the jail could be expanded to 1,200 beds, he said.

Richard Baker, superintendent of the Anne Arundel County Detention Center, said the jail population will have filled the 750 beds at the county's renovated Jennifer Road facility by 1997. "If we don't start now, we won't have the new building open when we need it," he said.

But several political leaders, surprised by the Neall proposal, said they would oppose construction of a Glen Burnie jail.

Residents of northern Anne Arundel County already contend with several municipal and hazardous waste landfills, the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s coal-fired Brandon Shores generators and chemical manufacturers.

"Everything in the world gets dumped in this area," said Delegate Joan Cadden, D-Anne Arundel. "I don't like it, and I'm going to do everything I can to convince the county executive not to put [the jail] here."

Mr. Neall must go to the General Assembly for half of the money needed to build the jail. This year, he is asking for $1.25 million toward the design, with the county paying another $1.25 million.

A prison consultant had recommended that the county expand the jail or build a new one to house 1,170 prisoners expected by the end of the decade.

Mr. Neall opted to build a new jail rather than expand the 25-year-old Annapolis building because the consultant estimated that expansion could cost $115 million.

The Glen Burnie location was chosen over two privately owned sites also suggested by a development consultant last October. Mr. Neall rejected a site west of Fort Meade off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and a Pasadena site near Mountain and Waterford roads.

When the proposed new maximum-security jail opens in 1997, the county will renovate the old jail to house minimum-security and work-release prisoners, Mr. Chitwood said. The county also could open a substance-abuse treatment center for those convicted of drunken driving, he said.

The county bought the 85-acre Glen Burnie depot site for $818,500 in 1981 after the federal government declared it surplus, Mr. Chitwood said. The county had hoped to use the property as bait to lure new industry, but could not resell it.

Two years ago, the county received $2.85 million from the state to expand the Jennifer Road jail to house 196 more inmates. The addition is to be completed in May.

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