Embattled Baltimore Jail Touts Security Improvements
11/19/2013
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Corrections Connection, The

By officer.com - Justin Fenton

Seven months after the Baltimore City Detention Center was thrust into the national spotlight as a haven for corruption, state corrections officials made the case Thursday that a series of reforms have significantly improved safety at the 150-year-old facility.

A long-sought phone-jamming technology system is nearing activation. A network of 230 high-definition cameras has been installed with a nerve center in the office of new jail administrator Ricky Foxwell. Corrections officers now pass through heightened security checks when they clock in for work.

"I think we're well on our way," Foxwell said as he showed reporters through the jail.

It was the first extensive public look at the facility since the April indictments of 25 people -- 13 of them corrections officers -- in a federal case that said Black Guerrilla Family gang members had taken over the jail.

But observers said Thursday that the jail has a long way to go before it sheds the stigma of the corruption scandal. Salacious details of the reputed leader impregnating four corrections officers propelled the case into international news and led critics to question state corrections leadership.

"The problems developed over decades, and solving or attempting to solve them is something that rightfully is taking a bit of time to do right," said state Del. Guy Guzzone, a Howard County Democrat who is one of the chairs of a legislative inquiry into the jail. "There isn't an easy fix here."