Central booking and jail are failing

August 07, 2012

I have been reading with great interest the recent articles on the Baltimore City Detention Center and Central Booking ("City jail oversight said to be lacking," Aug. 6).

Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the abhorrent conditions defense lawyers face when attempting to have meaningful interviews with clients. In the BCDC, we are forced to conduct interviews in filthy, cramped booths equipped with equally filthy backless iron stools. More often than not, there is no real privacy or ability to go over audio tapes, etc.

These conditions are deplorable, along with the loud yelling of inmates as well as the officers. In Central Booking, interviews are conducted either in hallways while standing or in a corner of a hallway in a plastic chair while other inmates are milling around trying to listen. Sometimes when lucky, we are given access to a medical room. Interviews have been held on the basketball court on more than one occasion. It should come as no surprise that these deplorable conditions breed, among other things, frustration often resulting in assaultive behavior.

Access to counsel is supposed to be guaranteed by the 6th amendment. The Baltimore holding facilities are a disgrace and need to be addressed now!

Jack Rubin

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