The stabbing death of a Maryland corrections officer – the second killed this year – is sending shock waves through the state’s violence-beset prison system and is prompting calls to replace its top managers, the Baltimore Sun reports. Union officials and others ask how it was possible for three inmates at the maximum-security House of Correction to get out of their cells Tuesday night and kill a by-the-book correctional officer who was on an inmate “hit list”? Critics also ask how it could this have happened even though the prison has been on high alert after a rash of violence that included the nonfatal stabbing of two officers in March and the killing of three inmates since May?
“Heads need to roll from the top down,” said Robert Stephens, who heads the Maryland Classified Employees Association, which represents some correctional officers. Union officials have demanded that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. meet with them to discuss what they describe as a prison system in crisis. Ehrlich said the killing “was not a function of the lack of supervision. It was not a function of a post being closed down. This was not a function of procedures not being followed.” Built in 1878, the House of Correction, which houses 1,100 inmates, many of them serving lengthy sentences for violent offenses, is a difficult prison to manage.