Grant to Help Battle Illegal Cell Phones In Prison
Efforts to rid Maryland's prisons of cell phones don't stop the moment they are found on someone entering the gates or removed from clever hiding spots within the facilities. Prosecution of those found with a contraband cell phone is equally important as interdiction.
This month the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention announced Maryland would receive funds from the US Department of Justice to further prosecution efforts in Baltimore. As a national leader in the fight against illegal cell phones in prison, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS), along with our partners in the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office, were chosen for this grant because of innovative strategies to confront emerging and chronic systemic issues.
Apples grown on western Maryland prison land will be helping to feed the hungry this autumn. A small crew of Maryland Division of Correction (DOC) inmates spent September harvesting two varieties of applies - Red Delicious and Galas - from about 1,200 trees planted on a prison complex south of Hagerstown. Many of those apples will be sold to the Maryland Food Bank at a fraction of their market value.
Helping Hands Offered After Flood Sweeps Through Port Deposit
As Secretary Gary D. Maynard travels around Maryland meeting with various community and government officials he is constantly offering a helping hand while spreading the word about DPSCS' Public Safety Works program. Following flooding in Port Deposit, MD last month the towntook him up on that offerand acrew of seven inmates got right to work clearing debris from gutters, scraping mud from streets and anything else the town's Public Works Department needed assistance with once the waters receded.
Grant to Help Battle Illegal Cell Phones in Prison continued
Cell phone interdiction has been a major part of DPSCS' mission over the past four years. With support from the O'Malley Administration and Maryland's Senate delegation, going after contraband cell phones has been key to reducing violence in MD's prisons, making them safer for staff and inmates. The Department testified in front of Congress on the issues of cell phones in prison, is a pioneer in training correctional cell phone sniffing K9s in-house, invested more then $1 million in entrance security technology and held a first-of-its-kind demonstrationof managed access alternatives to jamming cell phone signals.
In the fall of 2009 the Department began to bolster prosecution efforts by assigning a full time Investigator to cell phone cases and opening lines of communication with local State's Attorney's Offices to help staff build stronger cases. The DPSCS Internal Investigative Unit (IIU) has opened more than 550 cell phone cases statewide since that time - 437 from Baltimore City facilities alone.
This grant will enhance the investigative and prosecution efforts of DPSCS and the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Officeby adding two investigators to DPSCS' IIU, and a part-time prosecutor dedicated to cell phone cases. Proactive prosecution of both inmates and staff who introduce cell phones into a correctional setting can deter violence and gang activity that is most often associated with their use.
Maryland Correctional Enterprises' Horticulture Crew Harvests Apples for Nonprofit continued
John May, Chief Operations Officer for the food bank, visited the orchard Monday, Sept. 19. The food bank will take as many apples as possible, he said. MCE estimates they provided more than 1,000 lbs of fruit during the harvest. The food bank does pay a nominal amount - 20 cents per pound as opposed to a market value of $1.99 per pound - for the produce.
The Maryland Food Bank provides food to about 600,000 Marylanders per week, about 500,000 of whom live below the federal poverty line. This harvest is the second time the food bank partnered with the DOC for apples.