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MCTC officer charged

another resigns

February 04, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A Maryland Correctional Training Center correctional officer has been charged with possession of contraband with the intent to deliver it to a place of confinement, and a second officer has resigned amid an investigation, a Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman said Wednesday.

Prison officials allege that an officer or both officers were delivering tobacco products to inmates.

The officer who was charged Friday, Timothy Parks Jr., 21, of Hagerstown, was placed on administrative leave pending termination, the spokesman said.

A second officer resigned from MCTC amid the probe.

The department would not release the second officer's name because the resignation is considered a personnel matter.

Division of Correction investigators believe there was an ongoing effort to deliver tobacco and rolling papers to inmates at the medium-security MCTC, which houses about 2,580 inmates on Roxbury Road south of Hagerstown, spokesman Mark Vernarelli said in a news release.

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When Park reported to work at MCTC at about 3:40 p.m. Friday, he had with him two packages of loose tobacco weighing about 463.8 grams and eight packages of rolling papers, a Division of Correction investigator alleged in charging documents filed in Washington County District Court.

Tobacco and rolling papers are considered contraband, prison officials said.

Parks, who began working for the DOC in 2006, admitted that he conspired with an inmate to smuggle contraband into the prison in exchange for payment that was mailed to Parks' fiance, according to allegations contained in charging documents.

Parks told investigators he planned to place the tobacco in a trash can that was outside the officers' restroom in an MCTC housing unit so that the inmate could later retrieve the contraband from the trash can, court documents allege.

Delivering contraband to inmates, whether tobacco, cell phones, alcohol, drugs or weapons, creates a dangerous environment for correctional staff because contraband can be traded and sold, with violence sometimes breaking out over control of the products, prison officials said.

Conviction on a charge of possession of contraband carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

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