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NEWS
March 6, 2008
For those who had any doubts about the need to shut down the Maryland House of Correction last year, a hearing this week in an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court should convince them it was the right decision. Lawyers for two inmates charged in the murder of Correctional Officer David McGuinn are trying to show that a culture of corruption inside the Jessup prison contributed to the guard's death. And prison investigative reports they have received so far allege misconduct that went beyond a few insiders.
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NEWS
By Peter Hermann | May 30, 2012
Demetrius Alvin Boyd picked the wrong place to fall asleep -- in his Toyota, stopped in a travel lane of a highway, passed out at the wheel with his foot on the brake.  Awakened by a U.S. Park Police officer patrolling the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near Greenbelt, Boyd ran into a problem other than needing shut-eye. He had been drinking alcohol, had 17 small bags filled with marijuana and a loaded .45 caliber handgun, reported stolen, tucked in his waistband. On Wednesday, a federal judge in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt sentenced the 35-year-old Boyd, of Laurel, to four years in prison for the drugs, another six months for driving under the influence, followed by two years of supervised probation once he's released.
NEWS
June 14, 1994
It is an open secret that homosexual rape in prisons by inmates of other inmates is widespread and, in many cases, taken lightly if not ignored by wardens and guards. A judiciary that has attempted to deal with brutality by prison guards and with cell size, prison menus and even passive tobacco smoke has yet to deal with this much more serious problem in a forceful and effective way. Until now -- maybe.The Supreme Court ruled last week in a case involving rape that "a prison official cannot be found liable under the Eighth Amendment unless the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must draw that inference."
NEWS
October 11, 1990
Is a prison clerk being made a scapegoat for the failure of prison officials to keep convicted robber John Thanos behind bars? Did officials rush to release Thanos, who is accused of killing three people after being freed, simply to relieve prison overcrowding?One investigation already has been completed, another is in progress and a third probe soon may be launched by Gov. William Donald Schaefer to determine why Thanos was let go 18 months early. Officials admit a new early-release policy was mistakenly applied to the convicted robber and rapist.
NEWS
January 9, 1992
The recession might be acting as a drag on many Maryland industries, but there is one area where business is booming: state prisons. Inmates are filling up new cells as fast as they can be built. And there's no end in sight.Maryland added five prison buildings last year, but also added 100 inmates every month. When 1992 began, there were 32,000 inmates in state prisons, Patuxent Institution, the state-run city detention center and county jails. The cost to taxpayers is staggering. Maryland's public safety expenses are expected to top $640 million this year.
FEATURES
By Patrick A. McGuire | July 5, 1992
One day last summer at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup, a prisoner named Dennis Wise took a seat at the back of the tiny cubicle where I hold forth each week as a volunteer writing instructor. It's a loosely structured class and it isn't unusual that prisoners wander in for a session or two and then drift away. While always a possibility that such drifting is a commentary on the quality of the instruction, it is also true that writing is a painful business. The core of regulars who turn out every week come not because they want to, or because someone else wants them to, but because, in the true writer's motivation, they simply have to. Buried inside is something terrible, something wonderful, something that absolutely must come out. All their lives they have tried either to unlock long-imprisoned feelings or to escape them; that they have failed is as evident as their bleak existence in this ancient, decaying prison, far removed from the commerce of the normal world.
NEWS
March 14, 2007
Despite some progress, Maryland's mandatory minimum sentences are still too harsh, particularly on African-American defendants, and they don't allow enough low-level drug offenders to get treatment, which would be more helpful to them and to the public, according to a recent policy study. Legislation pending in the General Assembly would help address these concerns and deserves to be passed. Like many states, Maryland has relied on firm, fixed punishments as an effective way to fight crime.
NEWS
May 27, 1993
Seven years into his job as Maryland's public safety secretary, Bishop L. Robinson has reversed course: he's now a fan of alternatives to the state's costly prison expansion plan. He says he would like to see 30 percent of the state's inmates dealt with through non-incarceration.We applaud Mr. Robinson's turnaround. It makes no sense to build a seemingly endless chain of large new prisons. The expense to taxpayers is enormous and the results are counter-productive: prisons don't stop criminals from returning to their former lifestyles once they are released.
NEWS
By Russell Baker | May 28, 1991
MAYBE the most exciting play on Broadway just now is about a nation obsessed with locking people up and throwing away the key. It opens with a lashing: 50 strokes across a bare back. At first we seem to be in one of the deeper pits of hell, and metaphorically speaking, that is indeed the setting for the entire play, "Our Country's Good."The country of this bitterly ironic title is not modern America, but the England that has just lost its American colonies and, with them, a conveniently remote continent to provide a cheap solution to its prison problem.
NEWS
By Andrew A. Green and Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF | November 18, 2004
With a public apology from the governor, the state agreed yesterday to pay Michael Austin $1.4 million for the 27 years he spent in prison for a murder he did not commit. Along with the payments, which will be spread out over 10 years, the Board of Public Works approved money for Austin to seek financial counseling. The award was the largest the state has ever made to an exonerated prisoner. "This board has been asked under the state finance and procurement act to value days, to value time spent behind bars for no reason, for inappropriate reasons, for unlawful reasons," Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. told Austin.
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