Corrections officers who strictly enforce prison rules end up putting targets on their backs, former inmates and officers tell the Baltimore Sun. Officer David McGuinn, who was not one to look the other way, was stabbed to death last week by inmates who, according to colleagues, considered his diligence an annoying burden. Since March, three inmates were stabbed to death and two officers were wounded with homemade knives. The long-ingrained culture of laxness by some prison staff that led to the violence has been building for years and won’t be solved easily or quickly, according to prison system administrators, correctional officers and former inmates.
Threats against McGuinn’s life were carried out after two inmates allegedly jammed the locks to their cell doors and emerged to stab him as he walked a notoriously dangerous tier in the prison’s west wing. “McGuinn was straight up and down,” said Erika Ballard, a former correctional dietary officer who went through a training academy program with McGuinn. While he “wasn’t a mean person or the kind who would be involved in beating an inmate up,” McGuinn didn’t cut inmates any breaks when it came to enforcing rules, according to Ballard. “They [inmates] said last summer they were going to kill him before the summer was over,” Ballard said. “It was like a joke.”