Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said state corrections officers were put at risk under his predecessor as money was diverted from full staffing and safety measures to pay for rehabilitation and training programs for inmates, and he vowed that he would fully fund both programs, reports the Baltimore Sun. “W need to get away from the zero-sum game where we shortchange safety to fund treatment,” O’Malley said, referring to Project Restart, an initiative of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that critics say was funded at the expense of full staffing at corrections institutions.
O’Malley, visiting a Western Maryland prison with his nominee for public safety and corrections secretary, Gary D. Maynard, reassured correction officers that his administration will not shortchange their safety in its efforts to boost treatment for inmates. Mary Ann Saar, who was the secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services under Ehrlich, said O’Malley is wrong. She said Ehrlich was committed to treatment and tried repeatedly to expand programs behind prison walls, only to see the legislature cut the budget for the programs.