In the black market of Maryland’s prisons and jails, where the right price can secure cellphones and drugs, transactions unfold through a complex system of currency, says the Baltimore Sun. Among the key elements: 14-digit codes, prepaid debit cards, and text messages. One brand of cards — Green Dot — is so ubiquitous that it has become part of the lexicon on the inside.
The federal indictment of two dozen inmates and corrections officers in an alleged Black Guerrilla Family corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center notes several instances in which suspects refer to “dots” in transactions. Corrections officials have fought for years against illicit commerce — cigarettes, cash and even bars of soap have been used in trade among prisoners. Now prepaid cards have emerged in concert with cellphones as an efficient way to move capital around, into and out of corrections facilities. Using a simple code number to make transactions makes the cards hard for authorities to detect, said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.