County jail employees have been falsifying inmate work records, allowing prisoners to be improperly released, the Anne Arundel County Detention Center superintendent said yesterday.
Superintendent Richard Baker confirmed yesterday that prisoners in an inmate work program have been released prematurely because jail employees gave them credit toward their sentences for time they never worked. Baker would not say how many inmates benefited from the bogus work records or how long the problem has been occurring.
Based on information from jail workers, the leader of the county's largest labor union said he believes inmates have been getting out early for at least a year.
"It's been a standing practice" to giveinmates credit when they didn't work, said Marvin Redding, presidentof the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 582, representing 900 blue-collar workers. "God knows how many people have been released."
The union is grieving the one-day suspensions of two jail employees involved with falsifying the work records.
Only minimum- and possibly some medium-security prisoners havebeen released early, Baker said, noting that maximum-security inmates are prohibited from participating in "trustee" positions. Trustee inmates work at various jobs in the detention center in exchange for time off their sentences.
Baker declined further comment, saying the issue was a personnel matter.
The union contends that the two employees, both maintenance mechanics, should not be held accountable for falsifying the work records because they were following a supervisor's orders. They were suspended for one day without pay in December,Redding said.
"They are hanging these people, when (the detentioncenter) was doing this long before these people ever got there," he said. "The two people involved have a stainless track record of doingexactly what they are told. They are really good employees."
The supervisor was suspended for 10 days without pay, Redding said.
The union also believes maintenance workers and other jail employees, excluding guards, should not be responsible for overseeing inmates.
The inmate work program calls for workers throughout the jail -- janitors, cooks, mechanics and others -- to supervise inmates in their jobs, Baker said. About 50 of 570 inmates hold trustee positions, he said.