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Prison official discusses security

July 15, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

Maryland's top prison official was at the Maryland Correctional Training Center on Thursday afternoon to discuss security measures following Monday's escape of inmate Raymond Eric Dodd.

"Our focus right now is on recapturing Mr. Dodd. We believe this facility is safe, operated in a sound manner and has dedicated staff," said Stuart O. Simms, Maryland Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Authorities Thursday night continued searching for Dodd, who was reported missing when he failed to show up for a 3 p.m. attendance count Monday. Authorities say Dodd may have headed east to Prince George's County, where he has family and friends.

Dodd, 24, of Landover Hills, Md., was last seen at the prison south of Hagerstown along Roxbury Road around 10:30 a.m. on Monday.


Dodd has been at MCTC since March 19, serving a 16-year sentence for armed robbery and assault. He has been in Maryland Department of Corrections facilities since 1995, Assistant Warden Michael Stouffer said.

Dodd also was convicted of manslaughter in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Dave Towers, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Corrections, has said. He was sentenced to serve 10 years to life in the federal case.

Prison officials did not have details about those crimes. Sharon Rucker, spokeswoman for the prison complex, said she only knew the charges and length of the prison sentences.

Simms said prison authorities were pursuing leads to find Dodd, but he wouldn't elaborate.

Simms met with MCTC officials for about an hour to discuss security at the prison.

When asked how Dodd escaped, Simms said, "It's fair to say there are several possibilities that the staff here is focusing on."

He would not elaborate except to say Dodd could have escaped on or under a vehicle leaving the prison.

Prison officials have reassessed the perimeter, buildings, inmate movement and general processes at MCTC since the escape, Simms said.

MCTC officials have wanted to beef up perimeter security for years and funds to accomplish that are budgeted for this fiscal year, Simms said.

Strengthening the perimeter could include setting up additional security cameras and having roving patrols, Simms said. MCTC has towers that are staffed 24 hours a day, but patrols are intermittent.

Simms said inmates and correctional officers saw Dodd in his housing unit around 10:30 a.m. Monday. Dodd shares a cell with one other inmate.

Inmates move about the complex in controlled movements to the dining areas, shops and the educational area, he said.

Dodd could have been in the medical area, chapel or indoor or outdoor recreational areas between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., Simms said.

Dodd is described as a black man with black hair, medium complexion and brown eyes. He weighs 180 pounds and is 6 feet, 2 inches tall.

He was wearing blue jeans, a red short-sleeved T-shirt and white Air Jordan sneakers before he escaped.

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