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Roxbury incident inquiry continues

March 15, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Eight Roxbury Correctional Institution correctional officers who face allegations of excessive force have been placed on administrative leave, pending a recommendation for termination by the Division of Correction, a prison spokesman said Friday afternoon in a press release.

Another correctional officer has been suspended without pay, Mark Vernarelli said in the release.

The nine officers are being investigated by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' Internal Investigative Unit and the Maryland State Police.

The names of the officers involved were not released because it is a personnel matter, Vernarelli said. The officers may appeal any disciplinary action.

The excessive force allegations stem from an incident involving at least one inmate at the medium-security facility that houses about 1,750 inmates. Vernarelli said he believed the incident occurred March 8.

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That incident might have been connected to a March 6 assault by inmates on officers, Vernarelli said.

During that incident, an inmate tried to break away from a guard as the inmate was being led back to his cell after lunch. Three other inmates jumped in to aid in the escape attempt.

No serious injuries were reported, although a prison spokesman said the assault involved seven inmates and several correctional officers.

Roxbury had been on lockdown since the incident. RCI spokeswoman Denise Gelsinger told The Associated Press that the lockdown will continue until Monday.

When a prison is locked down, nonessential services such as programs and recreation are restricted to reduce large inmate movements, and inmates are fed in their cells, but still may receive medical attention, prison officials have said.

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