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Wardens at Hagerstown-area prisons swap jobs

March 26, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Wardens at two state prisons south of Hagerstown swapped positions Monday at the order of state officials, a Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman said Tuesday.

The wardens' new assignments, and several other personnel moves at prisons throughout the state, were announced to Division of Correction personnel March 3, Mark Vernarelli said.

Warden Roderick Sowers, formerly assigned to Roxbury Correctional Institution, is now at neighboring Maryland Correctional Institution.

Warden Nancy Rouse moved from MCI to RCI.

MCI is the older, slightly larger prison, with about 2,100 inmates. RCI's population is about 1,750. RCI has a slightly higher security rating, although both institutions are considered medium security facilities.

Two assistant wardens will be moved, effective April 28.

Gregg Hershberger, assistant warden at Maryland Correctional Training Center will move to MCI and Phil Morgan, assistant warden at MCI, will move to MCTC.

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The Division of Correction Commissioner usually makes decisions about personnel.

"Many of our wardens and assistants have worked at two or more institutions in their respective regions. It allows them to see new approaches, develop new programs and familiarize themselves with different facilities and layouts," he said.

The moves are not related to an investigation into excessive force allegations at RCI, Vernarelli said.

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, prison officials have said.

Another correctional officer has been suspended without pay.

The excessive force allegations stem from an incident involving at least one inmate at RCI. The inmate's injuries were not life-threatening, but he was taken to the hospital.

Maryland State Police are leading the investigation, and are working with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service's Internal Investigative Unit.

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