Gov. Harry Hughes met today with members of the Washington County Board of Commissioners to discuss constructing a facility for about 600 "temporary" prison beds at the Maryland Correctional Intitute in Hagerstown.
Hughes has been looking for a place to put the temporary beds since he rejected placing them on a Somerset County site that the state has chosen for a new maximum-security prison. The Somerset site has no sewer or water lines so temporaries could not be built right away.
As part of an agreement to end a federal court suit on prison overcrowing the state agreed to immediately construct some temporary cells to relieve swollen jails elsewhere in the state.
According to Hughes aides, the governor gave the commissioners a few days to consider the possibility of the temporaries, which would bring produce an additional 120 or so jobs. In addition, the temporaries would be housed in permanent buildings which would then be used for other prison programs. Hughes aides said that if the commissioners gave Hughes a flat no on the temporaries he would look for an alternative site.
The county commissioners also told Hughes that in exchange for considering the temporaries they wanted some help on several problems involving state agencies.