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'More presence means less crime'

August 05, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

Andrew Carbaugh has worked at the Maryland Correctional Training Center for more than 11 years. His job started going downhill about four years ago, he said.

He said he sees "a lot more assaults on staff than ever have been" and believes MCTC houses more gang members than in the past.

And it is gang activity that fuels fights, he said.

Different gangs dominate different areas of the black market within the prison, he said.

Tobacco is probably the top contraband item, but Carbaugh said he also has confiscated weapons and homemade wine.

When officers confiscate contraband, violence tends to erupt because someone didn't get what they paid for, said Carbaugh, 33.

The prison does not have enough staff to deal with those problems and correctional officers get only the "bare basics" in their training, Carbaugh said.

Only two officers patrol the yard at any one time and "two or three officers is not enough to control any situation," the U.S. Marine Corps said.

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"More presence means less crime," he said.

Bottom line: MCTC needs more officers, he said.

Most officers work from eight and 10 hours of overtime a week, Carbaugh said. Overtime isn't a problem unless it's made mandatory, and morale decreases when officers have to work mandatory overtime, he said.

The slaying of Roxbury Correctional Institution officer Jeffery Alan Wroten reminded correctional officers that they have to be careful.

"You tend to get lax without even knowing you do it," he said. "You have to rely on others to make sure you're not getting lax."

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