Gansler says Md. prison scandal is ‘egregious and outrageous’

The Baltimore City Detention Center. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

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Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) on Friday called this week’s indictments of more than a dozen state corrections officers “egregious and outrageous” and said he is confident federal prosecutors will get to the bottom of the scandal.

Gansler became the latest public official to speak out in the wake of the charges that officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center helped a prison gang launder money, have sex with guards, and run a drug-trafficking operation from behind bars.

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“It’s amazing,” Gansler said in an interview. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen in most corrections facilities. ... Obviously somebody was asleep at the switch.”

Gansler, who is gearing up to run for governor next year declined to comment on the extent to which Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) should be held responsible for the revelations regarding the Black Guerilla Family prison gang.

Gansler said he has “full confidence” that U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein would continue to root out problems in the prison system.

Gansler’s office has no direct role in running the state prisons system, but it does provide legal advice to the corrections department.

Concerns raised by other elected officials have prompted a legislative hearing May 8 in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) has also called for a blue-ribbon commission to take a broader look at Maryland prison issues.

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