I am beginning to marvel at the ability of the new Detention Center in Prince George's County to change. First, it was a jail, a very expensive, state-of-the-art jail that was hailed as being escape-proof. And what happened? In the past few months there have been three escapes involving nine prisoners. The jail has now taken on the appearance of a ship, the Titanic, a large, very expensive, state-of-the-art ship that was hailed as unsinkable. It seems our jail is P.G. County's Titanic, but the jail seems to be sinking again and again.

After the first escape, we were told it was due to a lack of manpower. So the jail administration was given more staff, at great expense. And guess what? Two more escapes occurred. It wasn't a lack of manpower that allowed for the escapes after all. It was a lack of fencing.

Now, the county's citizens have to cough up in excess of a quarter-million dollars for additional fencing, and our jail has changed again. It now resembles a bucket with a hole in it, with prisoners rather than water pouring out. What will be the excuse after the next escape? When will our county executive admit what the problem really is -- a lack of adequate management?

It is unthinkable that this county was forced to spend $43 million on the Detention Center, which has now changed into a white elephant. It is not acceptable that our county executive and the jail director make excuses for poor management that has cost the county close to half a million dollars for new staff, new fencing and overtime.

It would be well for our county executive to take note of the things the jail has become. It would be even wiser for him to be sure take some appropriate action.


Ft. Washington