Evans said the jail depends on prosecutors to file court orders when co-defendants or family members should not be boarded together. She said there was no direction to keep Brian Mayhew and Myers separated until this spring, when prosecutors asked that Mayhew be moved to another county.
Evans acknowledged, however, that the jail conducts interviews with incoming inmates to assess family connections and other affiliations as officials decide where to house people.
The investigations also revealed a pattern of deception by inmates to foil monitoring of their recorded phone calls, officials said. Prince George’s inmates make calls using debit cards with distinct authorization codes that allow detectives to track calls of particular defendants. But in Prince George’s, inmates routinely swap cards.
When Brian Mayhew allegedly told hit men where and when to find his uncle in December, he used another inmate’s authorization code, law enforcement officials said. It took a series of covert efforts, including asking inmates to wear wires, to unravel how those calls were made, the officials said.
The investigations have also found instances of county corrections officers smuggling cellphones to inmates, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.
The fallout from the Mayhew case has raised questions about the thoroughness of security improvements promised by Prince George’s officials after a 2008 incident in which an inmate accused of killing a police officer was found asphyxiated in his cell.
A year-long investigation followed, but it never became clear whether Ronnie L. White, 19, who authorities said had run down the officer with a pickup, was killed or took his own life, a federal judge said at a recent hearing. One guard was convicted of obstruction of justice. But because 175 jail cameras were then incapable of recording any video, it was impossible to review what occurred around White’s cell.
After White’s death, the jail nearly doubled — to 345 — the number of cameras, and each now records video that is saved for at least seven days.
But the Mayhew case revealed that the jail’s surveillance system still has at least one major blind spot. There is no audio or video surveillance of visiting booths, which are nearly soundproof to corrections officers stationed outside.
Most other jails in the region have the technology to record conversations between inmates and visitors. In the District, family and friends are directed to a room with 54 desktops with video monitors, and inmates have access to similar terminals. Each video-conference is recorded. In neighboring Montgomery County, inmates and visitors speak through phones that can be recorded.