State digest

State digest

August 29, 2006

Md. official to head D.C. jail

The head of Maryland's pretrial detention division is retiring Oct. 1 to become warden of the District of Columbia's jail, officials announced yesterday.

William J. Smith has been Maryland's commissioner of the division of pretrial detention and services, overseeing operations at the Central Booking and Intake Center and the men's and women's detention centers in Baltimore.

FOR THE RECORD - A state digest item in yesterday's editions failed to mention that Kevin O'Keeffe, a former high-level government aide in Baltimore and Anne Arundel County, has produced television ads promoting his candidacy for the 3rd District congressional race. O'Keeffe's 15-second ads began airing Sunday on Channel 13 and will run through the Sept. 12 primary. The ads stress O'Keeffe's working-class roots and show the candidate at a bus stop he says he used because "my family never had a car or checking account."
The Sun regrets the error.

Smith, 62, said yesterday that serving as warden of the District of Columbia's central detention facility is "an excellent opportunity for a new challenge."

A week ago, Frank C. Sizer Jr. retired as head of the state's prison system. Smith held an equivalent rank, overseeing state-run detention centers, where prisoners are held before trial. The pretrial detention system handles an inmate population that averages about 4,500 a day.

Smith spent nearly all of his 37-year career in corrections in Maryland, starting out as a correctional officer. He was security chief, assistant warden and warden at prisons in Jessup before he was named commissioner of the pretrial division in 2003.

Like the larger prison system, the pretrial division has had its share of problems over the past few years. In May 2005, a prisoner who was being held on a minor charge was beaten, kicked and stomped while at Central Booking. Three correctional officers were charged with second-degree murder in his death.

GREG GARLAND

Maryland: 3rd District

Beilenson begins running TV ads

3rd District congressional candidate Peter L. Beilenson began running television ads yesterday focusing on his 13 years as Baltimore's health commissioner in a commercial with his 16-year-old daughter.

Beilenson is the fifth of eight Democrats vying in the Sept. 12 primary to hit the airwaves.

The ad features Beilenson's daughter Jane saying that he cleaned up the lead in Baltimore schools' drinking water. Beilenson goes on to say that as health commissioner, lead poisoning and infant mortality rates went down and child immunizations went up.

Attorney John P. Sarbanes will begin running his third 30-second ad today, the first that features his father, retiring U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. "John has always worked hard. It's part of who he is," the elder Sarbanes says.

Former WMAR-TV reporter Andy Barth began running four new ads yesterday. "I'm not part of a famous political family," one ad says. "Family names shouldn't determine who wins," says another.

State Sen. Paula C. Hollinger began running her first ad, focusing on health care, last week.

Oz Bengur, a businessman, has run an Iraq-themed ad.

SUMATHI REDDY

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