Maryland abruptly shut down its House of Correction, an antiquated and notorious maximum-security prison where inmate violence had spiraled out of control and corruption had run rampant, the Baltimore Sun reports. Administrators had planned to convert the 128-year-old prison – where a correctional officer and three inmates have been killed in the past year – to a minimum-security facility in coming months. The state’s top correctional official said he began laying plans to close the prison within hours of the non-fatal March 2 stabbing of a correctional officer there.
“The House of Correction was one of the worst in terms of officer safety and efficiency of operation,” said Gary D. Maynard, who took over in January as Maryland’s secretary of public safety and correctional services. The last few dozen of the 842 inmates who were there when Maynard put his plan in motion were scheduled to move out of the prison yesterday. Most prisoners were sent to other facilities in Maryland; 97 of the “most disruptive” inmates were moved to federal prisons across the country or to state facilities in Kentucky and Virginia. The 438 employees will be transferred to other facilities in the region. Union leaders have long complained about conditions at the antiquated prison, which opened in 1879. It was long known as a place where drugs, tobacco, and other contraband flowed freely, earning the nickname “House of Corruption” among veteran officers.