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July 12, 2013
Nearly 10 years ago, I reacted with horror and disdain as President George W. Bush gleefully took credit for extra-judicial killings and indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. I thought: "How could a president throw away the basic principle of trial by jury and shred our Constitution?" I agreed with those who saw the detention center at Guantanamo Bay as a terrible stain on our national values and called for its closure. As a supporter of the Green Party, I did not vote for President Obama in 2008.
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NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | August 12, 2014
A Towson attorney was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in jail for smuggling drugs into the Baltimore County jail. "I am ashamed and saddened I stand before you in this capacity," Jill Swerdlin told Circuit Judge Timothy J. Martin before the she was sentenced. Swerdlin, 47, a defense attorney who has represented suspected dealers, pleaded guilty to drug charges in June. She admitted she had smuggled Suboxone — a drug used to treat addiction to opiates — into the Baltimore County Detention Center to clients during visits.
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NEWS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | October 13, 2011
An employee at the Harford County Detention Center was exposed to a substance that investigators believe is narcotic, police said Thursday night. About 5:30 p.m. a female staff member was sorting incoming inmate mail at the detention center in Bel Air when she came into contact with an unknown substance and then started feeling light-headed and experienced a metallic taste, according to a statement by the Harford County Sheriff's Office. The mail room was evacuated and quarantined.
NEWS
By Hal Riedl | July 20, 2014
Back when Robert Ehrlich was governor of Maryland, I was interviewing men newly committed to state prison and suspected of gang affiliations. After years in denial, Maryland was just beginning to realize that gangs were very active behind the walls. Among them was a "new" incarnation of BGF (Black Guerrilla Family) that had taken its name from, but was not otherwise beholden to, the BGF that dated from the 1960s. I got to know Lt. Santiago Morales, an astute gang investigator at Baltimore City Detention Center, and we shared information.
NEWS
By Kevin Rector, Jessica Anderson and Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | October 7, 2013
A longtime Towson-based defense attorney who represents accused drug dealers is being investigated for allegedly smuggling prescription pills to her clients inside the Baltimore County jail, police said. Elise Armacost, a county police spokeswoman, said attorney Jill Swerdlin had been on the "radar screen" of police since early 2012 as someone who may have been involved in the distribution of prescription drugs. Then, earlier this year, police got another tip that a defense attorney was smuggling drugs into the jail, Armacost said, which led them to Swerdlin.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 10, 2013
The state Department of Juvenile Services plans to replace its rundown detention center for girls with a new, 48-bed facility in Carroll County - a size that is raising questions among advocates for troubled youths. Juvenile Services Secretary Sam J. Abed will brief the Carroll County commissioners Thursday on the proposal to build a state-of-the-art, $53 million facility for girls on the site of the old Thomas O'Farrell Youth Center in Marriottsville. A department treatment center there for boys was closed in 2008.
NEWS
By Christopher M. Matthews and Capital News Service | December 28, 2009
As you approach Thomas J.S. Waxter Children's Center, a sign cautions that you are under camera surveillance. Notices warn against bringing in contraband - glass bottles, cigarettes, weapons. A metal detector sits in the front hall. You pass through a locked metal door to reach the residential wings. Down the hallway, the staff supervision room is separated from the children by a thick metal cage. On a Wednesday in September, a girl stands shackled in the hall, the cuffs around her hands and ankles connected by a metal chain.
NEWS
February 26, 1992
Officials at the Baltimore City Detention Center today were investigating the death of an 18-year-old man who may have strangled himself in the institution's hospital ward.Roderick Wade Jackson, of the 600 block of Fremont Ave. in West Baltimore, was found about 4 p.m. Monday in a bathroom in the hospital ward.A rope made from a hospital gown was around his neck and attached to the bathroom door, said Barbara Cooper, a Detention Center spokeswoman.Ms. Cooper could not say why Mr. Jackson was a patient there.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | April 24, 2013
I have lots of questions about the Black Guerrilla Family case, starting with this: Was the warden of the Baltimore City Detention Center asked to approve maternity leave for any of the female correctional officers allegedly impregnated by inmate Tavon "Bulldog" White? I thought it was a pretty good question. A taxpayer's question. According to the U.S. attorney's office, White got four of his jailers pregnant. (Do you think these women knew what was going on before the indictment came down?
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | March 18, 2014
Timothy Virts, accused of killing Bobbie Jo Cortez this month and abducting one of their daughters, will remain in jail pending trial, a judge ruled Tuesday. Virts, 38, waived his right to attend a bail hearing and did not appear in court. No attorney was present. The judge complied with a prosecutor's request to continue holding Virts without bail. Police say Virts stabbed 36-year-old Bobbie Jo Cortez in her house in the 3100 Ardee Way in Dundalk earlier this month and fled the area with their 11-year-old daughter Caitlyn Virts.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | May 7, 2014
Baltimore County Police this week have charged a man in 10 burglaries that occurred at off-campus apartments around Towson University last month. Vincent Davis Jr., 43, of the 1400 block of Taylor Ave. was arrested last week and charged with nine counts of first-degree burglary and one count of attempted first-degree burglary. He is being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center. He does not have an attorney listed in court records. Police reported 10 burglaries since April 4 at apartments near the university.
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | April 4, 2014
A dryer caught fire at the laundry room of the Baltimore County Detention Center Friday afternoon, Baltimore County police said. No injuries were reported at the Kenilworth Drive facility in Towson where firefighters were called shortly after 3 p.m. Police said part of Kenilworth Drive was shut down. No evacuations occurred. jkanderson@baltsun.com twitter.com/janders5
NEWS
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun | March 18, 2014
Timothy Virts, accused of killing Bobbie Jo Cortez this month and abducting one of their daughters, will remain in jail pending trial, a judge ruled Tuesday. Virts, 38, waived his right to attend a bail hearing and did not appear in court. No attorney was present. The judge complied with a prosecutor's request to continue holding Virts without bail. Police say Virts stabbed 36-year-old Bobbie Jo Cortez in her house in the 3100 Ardee Way in Dundalk earlier this month and fled the area with their 11-year-old daughter Caitlyn Virts.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | February 7, 2014
State officials say they have blocked service at the Baltimore City Detention Center for the contraband cellphones that have long fueled gang activity there. Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled to announce Friday the recent activation of a "managed access" system, which officials say is already blocking unauthorized calls by inmates. State officials say the phones have been an essential tool for criminals inside the antiquated facility. Authorities say Black Guerrilla Family leader Tavon White used them to direct a contraband smuggling scheme, transfer payments and alert associates of planned searches.
NEWS
November 26, 2013
The federal indictments handed down last week against 14 more corrections officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center in a massive jail scandal reinforce questions about whether officials have yet done enough to root out corruption at the facility. The latest indictments come on top of the 13 employees charged in April when the scandal broke and suggest that the wrongdoing there was even more widespread than initially reported. What's still unclear is how far up the chain of command the rot extended and whether all those who bear any responsibility for this mess have been called to account for crimes that apparently went on for years right under their noses.
NEWS
By Kevin Rector, Jessica Anderson and Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | October 7, 2013
A longtime Towson-based defense attorney who represents accused drug dealers is being investigated for allegedly smuggling prescription pills to her clients inside the Baltimore County jail, police said. Elise Armacost, a county police spokeswoman, said attorney Jill Swerdlin had been on the "radar screen" of police since early 2012 as someone who may have been involved in the distribution of prescription drugs. Then, earlier this year, police got another tip that a defense attorney was smuggling drugs into the jail, Armacost said, which led them to Swerdlin.
NEWS
July 11, 1993
BALTIMORE -- A 29-year old Baltimore City Detention Center prisoner was stabbed as he returned to his cell from recreation time at 9:22 a.m. yesterday, prison officials reported..Jail spokeswoman Barbara Cooper said injuries to Thomas Woodell, 27, of the 2000 block of Edmondson Ave., were not life-threatening.Mr. Woodell was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital for stab wounds to his chest, lower back and arm. He was reported in stable condition last night, Ms. Cooper said.No suspect or weapon was found immediately, prison officials said.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,Sun Staff Writer | July 13, 1994
Two men escaped through a third-story window in a medium-security portion of the Baltimore City Detention Center overnight -- the first escape since state government took over the beleaguered former City Jail three years ago.Commissioner LaMont W. Flanagan, who oversees the detention center for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, identified the escapees as John A. Wagner, 21, of the first block of S. Monroe Street, and Edward G....
NEWS
September 20, 2013
The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services will host a public hearing Friday, Sept. 20, from 7 to 9 p.m. regarding the plan to place a new $53 million, 48-bed detention center for girls at 7960 Henryton Road, Marriottsville. The meetings will take place in the auditorium at Liberty High School, 5855 Bartholow Road, Eldersburg, from 7 to 9 p.m. Officials from the department will provide an overview of the project. The site has been state-owned for more than 20 years and was most recently the site of the former Thomas O'Farrell Youth Center, which served as a treatment center for boys until it closed in 2008.
NEWS
July 28, 2013
Fresh off a tour of the corruption-plagued Baltimore City Detention Center, some lawmakers appear eager to hand the state corrections department a half-billion-dollar get out of jail free card, so to speak. Shocked by the antiquated structure, which dates in part to before the Civil War, some members of a legislative task force are saying that the state needs to get serious about building a new jail. There is no doubt that the detention center is far from ideal. It is a cobbled-together warren of cells and hallways with poor sightlines, and it experiences frequent problems with basic systems like plumbing.
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