Maryland corrections officials announced new drug-smuggling and assault charges Friday related to two cases of misconduct by guards at the state-run Baltimore jail, as well as the appointment of a new director of a prisons investigations team.
The actions were among the latest fallout from April’s indictments of 13 guards at the Baltimore City Detention Center, who prosecutors said helped a dangerous national gang operate a drug-trafficking and money-laundering scheme behind bars. Four corrections officers also allegedly became pregnant by one inmate.
A multi-agency task force established by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) after the scandal came to light has been investigating other misconduct at the jail, and Friday’s announcements were the first in what has been advertised to be a broader crackdown.
In both instances, the additional charges built upon previous cases brought by the Baltimore state’s attorney, not federal officials.
Corrections officer Sean Graves was charged in February on several counts related to the alleged distribution of oxycodone in the jail. Based on further investigation by the task force, charges were also filed against two alleged co-conspirators: inmate Michael Gordon and Garnett Logan of Baltimore.
According to corrections officials, Logan provided the narcotics to Graves, and Gordon was the intended recipient. All three men were indicted by a grand jury this week. Graves resigned as a correctional officer in May after the original charges were brought.
In the other case highlighted Friday, additional charges were brought against corrections officer Clarissa Clayton and her boyfriend, Craig Parker. In June, they were charged with misdemeanor second-degree assault related to an alleged violent attack on Clayton’s uncle, which took place away from the jail.
After additional investigation by the task force, grand jury indictments were secured for the more serious charges of first-degree assault against Clayton and Parker.
“An employee involved in corruption, or who contributes to institutional violence that puts his or her colleagues in danger, should be on notice,” Gary D. Maynard, state corrections secretary, said in a statement Friday. “We have the tools, and we will come after you.”
Maynard also announced the hiring of Mark Carter as the director of his department’s Internal Investigative Unit, which is responsible for investigating all crimes by inmates as well as allegations of corruption among staff members.
Carter has been serving as chief financial officer for the Maryland State Police.
In the wake of the scandal at the Baltimore jail, corrections officials previously announced they would increase the size of the internal investigations unit by 50 percent, adding eight sworn detectives and four intelligence technicians.
The Washington Post reported in May that the number of investigators in the unit had remained virtually unchanged since 2006, with fewer than one person per correctional facility, despite a caseload that doubled in that time.
The state has run the sprawling Baltimore jail since 1991, when it took over control from the city. It is the only local jail that is run by state prison officials.