When Gov. Larry Hogan decided to close Baltimore’s long-troubled men’s jail, he didn’t call members of a state commission who had studied the issue or the mayor of Baltimore. He just did it, says the Baltimore Sun. “You don’t do this by committee,” said Stephen Moyer, Hogan’s secretary of public safety and correctional services. “You make a decisive action. Look at this place. It’s got to be closed.” Hogan said he didn’t consult other politicians because he wanted to “make this decision without it being interfered with by politics.” He added, “The General Assembly decided it should take 10 years. We think it should take a couple of weeks. The Baltimore City Detention Center has been a black eye for our state for too long.” His go-it-alone style was criticized as brash by Democrats but praised as bold by members of the GOP.
In his announcement, Hogan characterized state lawmakers as dragging their heels on jail reform. He pointed to the 2013 indictments of inmates and corrections officers on charges of widespread corruption, resulting in 40 convictions. “In case you have forgotten the shocking and disgraceful headlines, for years the Black Guerrilla Family gang maintained a stronghold over this facility, running an empire built on the trafficking of drugs, contraband and intimidation,” Hogan said. “Maryland taxpayers were unwittingly underwriting this criminal enterprise run by gang members and corrupt public servants.” He singled out former Gov. Martin O’Malley for ridicule, saying O’Malley “called the case a ‘positive achievement in the fight against gangs. It was just phony political spin on a prison culture created by an utter failure in leadership.”