O’Malley visits MCTC to thank correctional officers for work

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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley visited the Maryland Correctional Training Center Friday afternoon to thank local correctional officers for their hard work toward advances in safety within the state correctional system.

“You've done it at the toughest of times in our state history, when we haven't had really two nickels to rub together, and nonetheless, you've made improvements and you've made progress because you care about the safety of your neighbors; you care about the safety of your colleagues,” O'Malley said.

He made his remarks during the officers' roll call in the visiting room of the medium-security prison south of Hagerstown. The officers were preparing to go on duty for the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift.

O'Malley said since 2007, serious assaults on correctional officers in the state prison system have dropped 50 percent.

In addition, he said correctional officers have worked hard to stop illegal cell phone use by inmates. In the last fiscal year, correctional officers seized 1,128 cell phones from state correctional facilities, up from about 700 in 2007, O'Malley said.

O'Malley, who is running for re-election, acknowledged his continuation as governor was no guarantee.

After thanking the correctional officers, he added, “You know, I'm up for a job review right now, so I don't know that I will have an opportunity to come back and say that again.”

O'Malley said he had worked with Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services Gary Maynard and other corrections officials to bring about advances such as better wireless detection technology.

“There are some things we can't control, but there are some things we can, and we've done a number of things to make sure you have better resources and better support to do your job in a safer and better way,” he said.

O'Malley also mentioned the Correctional Officers' Bill of Rights, a law passed by the General Assembly last session aimed at bringing fairness to investigations and disciplinary proceedings against correctional officers.

MCTC Warden D. Kenneth Horning thanked O'Malley for the visit.

“I have been doing this type of work for 40 years, and I have never seen before a governor come to a facility — I believe this is his third time at MCTC — and personally thank you for the job that you do at tremendous paces every day, so I think this is very special,” Horning said.