Boot camp inmates thwart security

woman pregnant

Women may be moved from Toulson at night

March 08, 2001|By Todd Richissin | Todd Richissin,SUN STAFF

The rules at Maryland's boot camp for adult criminals are fairly straightforward. It's early to bed and early to rise, a strict regimen of daily exercise. Every minute as structured as rhyme.

Or supposed to be.

Recently, though, irrefutable proof showed up during a medical examination that two inmates had managed to steal some free time: One of the women housed at the camp was pregnant.

The incident has prison officials considering removing female inmates from the facility at night.

"An internal investigation revealed a consensual sexual act occurred between a male and female boot camp inmate," said Priscilla Doggett, a public information officer with the Maryland Division of Correction. "The sexual act occurred in an unoccupied trailer where female boot camp inmates are housed."

As of yesterday, five female and 332 male inmates were assigned to the camp in Jessup.

They are supposed to be kept in separate quarters at the facility, the Herman L. Toulson Correctional Boot Camp. Female inmates are housed in trailers, and a fence separates them from the male inmates except when they are involved in sanctioned activities together.

Somehow, the inmates thwarted security.

The trailer that served as their meeting place was not occupied. The female inmate had been given permission to use a telephone there because the one in her trailer was broken, Doggett said.

The male inmate was able to get through a fence that was supposed to secure the trailer.

"Allegedly, the female inmate conspired and the male inmate gained access to the trailer through a sliding window," Doggett said.

Deemed too risky for the boot camp's minimum-security status, both inmates were moved to other facilities.

Officials are not considering banning female inmates from the boot camp program, which can shave years from prison sentences, but they are trying to determine whether it would be feasible to bring the women onto the grounds each day rather than have them sleep there.

This case is the first known one of its kind since the boot camp opened in 1990, Doggett said, and security procedures have been reviewed to keep it from happening again. There was no evidence of staff involvement, she said.

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