Maryland will immediately place an additional 150 prison guards on active duty statewide at a cost of $1 million following last week's escape of 30 inmates from the House of Correction in Jessup, Gov. Harry Hughes announced yesterday.
Hughes said, however, that the 25 additional guards he ordered assigned to the Jessup facility might not have prevented the breakout Wednesday, despite charges that the prison was undermanned.
Hughes added that planning for yesterday's order, calling for additional guards, had been under way for some time prior to the escape.
The governor's efforts to bolster prison security did not satisfy Anne Arundel County Executive Robert Pascal, however, who said the Jessup escape was a result of a permissive attitude toward corrections by the Hughes administration.
Pascal said yesterday he will ask for an independent grand jury investigation to determine the cause of the escape. He said he would like the grand jury to also examine the deployment of Jessup guards and the classifications of prisoners.
Meanwhile, eight prisoners were still at large yesterday from the mass escape. Prison officials met with state police to review security procedures after evidence of another escape attempt was discovered over the weekend.
Late Saturday, guards at the House of Correction discovered two partially sawed bars in a special confinement area holding 22 convicts who had been caught shortly after participation in the mass escape.
Prison officials yesterday ordered the transfer of the 22 recaptured inmates to the state penitentiary in Baltimore, a maximum-security facility.
Under Hughes' action yesterday, as many as 69 guards currently on the payroll performing administrative functions could be transferred to active duty. The remainder of the 150 additional guards would be newly hired.