Two Probationary Correctional Officers Removed In Connection With Inmate's Escape From MCI-H
Third officer reprimanded
Towson, MD (August 9, 2010)---Two probationary correctional officers have been rejected on probation in the wake of the July 30th escape of an inmate from the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown (MCI-H). The officers, both with less than one year on the job, violated institutional procedures by allowing inmate Dominic Webster to access an area that is normally off-limits to inmates, and by not notifying a tier officer that the inmate was supposed to return to his cell because of an alleged illness.
A third officer has been given a reprimand for not thoroughly searching an area from which the inmate ultimately escaped.
Investigators believe Webster escaped because instead of returning to his cell, he made his way to a restricted area through an access point that should have been locked. For security reasons, specific details of the escape will not be provided.
Because Webster’s housing unit had not been notified that the inmate was to return to his cell due to purported illness, his absence on the tier was not noted immediately. This allowed the inmate time to escape.
Maryland State Police expect to formally charge the inmate with escape soon. The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Internal Investigative Unit continues its administrative investigation as well, and MCI-H and the Division of Correction are thoroughly examining their policies, procedures, and protocols.
Staffing was not an issue in this escape. MCI-H has only ten correctional officer vacancies among line officers and sergeants. The three prisons in the Hagerstown region currently are at a 98% staffing level. The Division of Correction accounts for approximately 1,640 jobs in Washington County.