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Prison will improve security

April 07, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening's budget includes $6.3 million for a new fence and other security measures at one of the state prisons south of Hagerstown.

Although the amount is more than $2 million higher than the cost of the new District Court building being built in Hagerstown, state prison officials said the work is a routine upgrade.

Dave Towers, a spokesman for the Maryland Division of Correction, said the state plans to upgrade an inner fence at the Maryland Correctional Training Center and replace the outer fence.

The metal inner fence will be outfitted with alarms and electronic warning detectors, Towers said.

It is designed to help prevent escapes in two different ways.

First, microwave rays will detect movement. Second, using the 'shaker system," the fence will sound alarms when contact is made with it.

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Meanwhile, Towers said the state will tear down the outer fence about 10 feet away and replace it with a high-tech, state-of-the art structure. He described it as a maximum security fence.

"It's more sophisticated security-wise," he said. "If there is an intrusion, people will be alerted to that intrusion immediately."

Sharon Rucker, a spokeswoman for MCTC, said double fencing is important because it adds an additional layer of protection.

"It's pretty typical that any correctional facility or jail will have double fencing," she said.

Two inmates have escaped from MCTC in the last year.

Raymond Eric Dodd Jr. escaped last summer, sparking a re-evaluation of security procedures by Warden J. Michael Stouffer.

Dodd, a convicted armed robber who escaped in July, was recaptured in October.

Last month, another inmate walked away from the prison while on a job to fuel state vehicles outside the MCTC fence. George Malcolm Brown was recaptured after being wounded by sheriff's deputies in Florida during an attempted carjacking.

Towers said the upgrades had long been planned and were not in response to any escape. He said the prison will not relax security during the construction.

Towers said the new high-tech features are standard in newer prisons.

"Some of the older prisons, we're looking to upgrade security," he said.

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