A growing prison population of tough, young gang members and the lack of educational and rehabilitation programs for other inmates is fueling much of the violence in Maryland’s prisons, corrections officials told legislators, the Baltimore Sun reports. “Most of it is from gang-related activities,” said John Rowley, acting prisons commissioner. “We need to isolate these folks, and that’s going to take some time.” He and Public Safety Secretary Mary Ann Saar are taking several steps to address security concerns. The agency has beefed up intelligence-gathering and is working with federal authorities to compile information on gang activities on the streets and in prisons.
Prison officials visited Connecticut to review a “gang management” program that is regarded as a model. A state senator reported getting calls from inmates with cell phones. Cell phones are prohibited inside prisons because inmates can use them to coordinate criminal activities inside and outside prisons. The senator questioned the screening process for hiring correctional officers. He has been told that some openly sport tattoos that indicate gang affiliation, such as teardrops or spider webs.