O'Malley Shuts Down Md. House of Correction

O'Malley Acts Swiftly to Close 19th Century Prison in Jessup; 842 Inmates Already Transferred, 97 Most-Problematic Prisoners Moved Out of State

Gov. O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Brown, others inspect an aerial photo of the Maryland House of Correction during a press conference today where O'Malley announced the official closing of the 19th Century facility.

JESSUP, Md. - Governor Martin O'Malley and Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Gary D. Maynard announced today that the Maryland House of Correction has been shut down.

The closure comes after the carefully arranged transfer of 842 inmates out of the 129-year old, 19th Century, maximum-security prison. The Maryland Division of Correction (DOC) transferred 655 inmates in the prison's final week of operation. 97-inmates considered to the most disruptive were transferred to federal prisons across the nation by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and state prisons in Virginia and Kentucky.

Gov. O'Malley inside Maryland House of Correction today making the announcement that the facility has been closed.

"Today's closure of the House of Correction is a necessary first step to reforming our Department of Correction and ensuring the safety of the public, our corrections officers, and our inmates," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "I applaud Secretary Maynard, the Division of Correction and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for making this happen. Their efforts over the last month to shut down this facility have been nothing short of heroic."

As one of the oldest maximum-security prisons in the United States, the Maryland House of Correction is also considered one of the most dangerous. Earlier this month, Officer Edouardo F. Edouazin suffered seven stab wounds at the facility. Last year, just months after inmate Brian Wilson was killed, Officer David McGuinn was killed by inmates at the House of Correction.

"When I took this job, I knew that my top priority was to protect the public, our employees, and the inmates," said Secretary Gary D. Maynard. "It very quickly became clear to me that one of my first jobs was to close the antiquated and dangerous House of Correction. This facility is not suited for modern-day incarceration, much less maximum-security."

The House of Correction was built in 1878 and has been in continuous use since the day in opened. As recently as last summer, the prison housed more than 1,250 inmates. In the past few weeks, the Division of Correction (DOC) has transferred 842 inmates to other state prison facilities and out of state prisons.

In addition, DOC officials have undertaken an intensive, system-wide inmate reclassification, to determine which inmates were best suited for which facilities. "The work involved in this effort has been tremendous," said Acting Commissioner of Correction John Rowley. "I'm proud of our people, whose tireless efforts made this very difficult operation successful."

The closure of the prison will have a positive impact on correctional officer vacancies in the Jessup region. DPSCS anticipates filling every vacancy in the region by transferring over 250 House of Correction officers and employees to other prisons. No employee will lose his or her job due to the closure of the House of Correction.

Later this year, the Division of Correction will add more prison beds when the second housing unit at the state-of-the-art North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland opens. North Branch will add even more beds next year, upon completion of its third and fourth housing units. North Branch is a maximum-security institution.

The House of Correction hospital, which provides medical care to inmates from all Department facilities in the Jessup region, will remain open. In addition, once the inmates are gone, some correctional employees will remain at the House indefinitely, conducting inventories and doing other jobs.

Source: Gov. O'Malley's Office

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