Herald-Mail Forums

December 04, 2006

Last week's question

Maryland Public Safety Secretary Mary Ann Saar has announced Nov. 22 she will retire Jan. 17. Her announcement came a day before six inmates were injured in a series of stabbings at Roxbury Correctional Institution. How can Saar's successor make the state's prisons safer?

Listen and follow through QUICKLY on the recommendations made by the men and women who walk the tiers and actually do the job. If that means more staff and better equipment, then DO IT. The successor needs to listen to the correctional officers and some local delegates. Despite what those officials tell the COs here, their votes in Annapolis on collective-bargaining issues don't support officers. Check the facts.

One way to make prisons safer is to start putting people in them other than convicted criminals. Maybe mix it up some.


By doing what she wouldn't do - listen to the people who work around inmates every day.

Hopefully, her successor will have more than a nickel's worth of common sense and will put the well-being and safety of the corrections officers ahead of everything else.

These brave people who go to work in the prison system every day are there not only to protect the rest of the state from convicted criminals, but they are there to protect these individuals from themselves and others like them. Give them what they need to do their job and do it safely.

I have great empathy for the correctional officers, but they are not the only state employees who need help. Someone needs to put the Department of Social Services in this county under the microscope.

Put staffing back to safe levels, and be hard core against the gang activity.

Replacing the correctional officer line staffing, and security posts that were cut by the current administration. A prison should be safe for the staff as well as the inmates. You need correctional officers' line staffing and security posts to promote safety for all.

As a former inmate, I am aware of the problems. The only way to solve the tension is to segregate the population. It may sound harsh, but it is the only way to fix a lingering problem.

I think the new person should stay in lockup for a day and see what the guards see every day. Then make the much-needed changes.

If prisoners are making knives or shanks in prison, then someone is not doing their job. How in the heck can they get away with that? Make the officers who are there do their jobs better.

That means better training, daily searches on every cell, every day, and keep them on lockdown 'til every cell is searched. If a weapon is found, then punish all of them. After a while they will not be making weapons. It has worked in European prisons and it will work here.

To the above post, sorry, but COs are not underworked and overpaid - politicians are. That's where your taxes are getting wasted. Your command of vocabulary only exceeds your logic and the knowledge of the cost and methodology to run a prison.

Staff the prison staff at the 2003 levels.

Have Gov. Martin O'Malley come and talk to the line staff. The mistake Gov. Robert Ehrlich made was to have Mary Livers talk to the appointed people (wardens, assistant wardens and security chiefs.)

They will only say what headquarters allows them to say! If they disagree, their jobs are taken by some other yes-person. The DOC is in crisis. At no other time in history have so many people been killed in one year, staff and inmates. That says it ALL.

I believe hiring more guards will help but it will not solve all of the problems. I believe that more surprise checks are needed on the inmates and more multi-language speaking guards. The system needs to stop the GANG activity inside the prison walls!

You folks posting that think state employees are overpaid and over benefitted need to learn more about what our Superintendent of Schools makes and the sweet benefit package all the county and state legislators get for their part-time jobs - which your taxes pay for until they die.

Then add to the fact that they won't force big business to pay health benefits; they want your taxes to pay it through welfare. And that they would rather fund faith-oriented private schools rather than fact-based public schools.

To the rude people who consider our correctional officers guards, you obviously have not seen how hard these men and women work for you. Get it straight, they are officers, not guards. Without them, how safe would you feel? Walk a mile in their shoes. They risk their lives every day they show up to work. I believe they deserve more - staffing and whatever they need. Mostly they need to be heard. They are dedicated and by no means rent-a-cops. I am a nurse who works there.

The prison system won't change at all as long as those guarding the prisoners allow drugs and contraband into the prison from the outside. There is too much made about not having enough staff to cover but there are guards letting these things happen. Granted it is a thankless job, but guards make mistakes and there are those who would sell out their fellow guards and nobody wants to talk about that. It's always about the administration not the rank and file. Think about it!

This week's question

What was the last gift you purchased from a retail store in downtown Hagerstown and who was it for? Responses will be posted Monday. Dec. 11.

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