When Maj. Enid Smith looked over the proofs of a recent issue of the Prince George's County Detention Center newsletter, Centennial Slammer, they looked fine. But when she saw the printed version, Smith, the assistant sheriff in charge of the center, shut down the newsletter temporarily and launched an investigation.
The printed newsletter contained a pencil drawing that Smith hadn't seen on the proofs. It was accompanied by a caption that she said gave the picture a homosexual connotation.
Smith, who checks each issue of the five-month-old newsletter before it is mimeographed, said that the June issue crossed her desk, withdrawing the drawing, before it went to press.
"But for some reason, I never saw the finished copy," she said.
When Smith found out about the drawing in the issue, she immediately started and investigation at the Upper Marlboro detention center. She said she now knows who did the drawing and that "one particular staff person" was responsible for putting it in th newsletter.
"I had put a trust in a member of the staff," Smith said. "When I can trust the inmates more than the staff, that's very upsetting."
Smith said that she has made "a couple of changes in staff" and that the magazine will continue to be circulated to the 500 inmates, the majority of whom are male. The newsletter usually contains art work including cartoons, landscape drawings and portraits, all done by inmates.
In addition there are book reviews and articles.
"We've gotten some really talented people here," Smith said, " and some of their poetry is very good."
Prince George's County Sheriff Don E. Ansell said that he knew that Smith had had "a staff problem." He said he was not going to issue any directives on what to do about the magazine. "I primarily leave that up to her discretion," he said.