Institutional Security

Topics At A Glance

Gang Identification, Intelligence and Information Sharing

  • The identification of gang members within our inmate population has been key in creating safer institutions in Maryland. Through an increased commitment to information sharing and intelligence gathering on these inmates, we are better able to manage our own population, as well as keep other law enforcement agencies informed about those who may be returning to the community.
  • After the creation of a universal inmate transfer form with the Maryland Correctional Administrators Association, the Division of Correction (DOC) releases 100% of offenders with background notifications. In return, approximately 90% of those entering our system come with the same form.
  • During FY10, these efforts helped DOC’s Intelligence Coordination Unit newly validate 1,254 inmates as gang members.
  • Our intelligence staff has also been praised by the U.S. State’s Attorneys Office during the past year for efforts to step-up surveillance that has helped garner sweeping indictments of gang members from both behind bars as well as on the streets.
  • Bolstering the Department’s efforts to root out corrupt staff that may be aiding this population, in early FY10 the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions implemented new regulations to check gang membership of prospective correctional officers.

See DPSCS Gang Intervention and Prevention Resources

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Contraband Reduction – No Single Solution

  • Beginning three years ago in FY07, DPSCS made contraband reduction a priority. By increasing intelligence on gang members who often manage the sale and trade of these illegal items, investing $1.1 million dollars in new entrance technology in FY09 and being a leader in innovative detection techniques, we believe we are making a dent in the flow of contraband within our facilities.cell phone graph
  • As our efforts to find and rid our institutions of cell phones expanded over the years, the numbers interdicted rose from FY07 to FY09 by a total of 124%.
  • However, during FY10 we believe we reached a tipping point in cell phones making their way into our institutions. In FY08 we found 67% more cell phones than in FY07. In FY09 that increase slowed significantly to 34%. And in FY10 we found only 1,128 cell phones, a 32% drop from last year.
  • In February of 2009 the Department also began tracking the location of cell phones found - before and after entrance into one of our facilities - to better understand the flow of contraband. When comparing the last five months of FY09 to the same time period in FY10, we saw a 36% increase in phones found outside. Stopping them before they get into the hands of inmates behind the fence reduces their potential impact.
  • In addition to physically removing cell phones from our facilities, a key component of our efforts to reduce contraband is better prosecution of illegal cell phone cases. In fall of 2009, DPSCS hired a new investigator for our Internal Investigative Unit (IIU) whose sole focus is cell phone cases.
  • The Department also opened lines of communication with local State’s Attorney’s Offices in an effort to improve cell phone prosecutions and get cases to court. Out of that effort, this spring the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office provided training to our intelligence staff and correctional officers that has helped us build better cases. Since that time, no case brought before the prosecutors has been turned down.
  • From November 2009 through November 2010, IIU has investigated 183 cases statewide with charges brought in 116. Forty cases were adjudicated during that time, with a 85% guilty conviction rate.

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Safer Institutions

  • With the Department’s commitment to better identification assault graphof gang members and the reduction of contraband within our facilities, we have seen a steady decline over the past three years in violence against staff and those under our supervision.
  • In FY10, serious assaults (defined as incidents that require more than basic first aid) by offenders on other offenders are up slightly over FY09, but still a 35% drop from FY07.
  • Serious assaults on staff are down 29% over last year, and 50% from just three years ago.

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Latest Institutional Security News


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Quick Facts

Cell Phone Finds

  • FY07 = 741
  • FY08 = 1,236
  • FY09 = 1,658
  • FY10 = 1,128

Slowing Trend

  • 67% increase from FY07 to FY08
  • 34% increase from FY08 to FY09
  • 32% drop from FY09 to FY10

Location Found

  • Began tracking location of cell phones found in Feb. 09
  • 36% increase in phones found prior to entering facility during last five month of FY09 vs. same time period in FY10

Cell Phone Prosecutions

Dedicated investigator hired by DPSCS in fall of 2009

Nov. 09 to Nov. 10

  • 183 contraband cell phone cases opened statewide
  • Charges brought in 116 cases
  • 40 cases adjudicated
  • 85% guilty conviction rate

Serious Assaults

FY07 vs. FY10

  • 25% decrease in overall serious assaults on inmates
  • 50% decrease in overall serious assaults on staff