The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Last inmate is transferred out of the scandal-plagued Baltimore jail

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services transferred the last inmate from the men’s jail at the Baltimore City Detention Center on Tuesday evening, officially shutting down the beleaguered facility less than a month after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered it to close.

Hogan surprised lawmakers and local officials on July 30 when he announced that he had instructed Stephen T. Moyer, the corrections secretary, to begin the closure of the Civil War-era facility immediately and the transfer of its 750 pretrial inmates.

Hogan closing scandal-plagued men’s facility at Baltimore jail immediately

For decades, advocates complained about the deplorable conditions at the jail. And two years ago, the facility became the focus of a state task force after a sweeping federal indictment revealed that a gang leader was operating an elaborate drug operation from behind bars with help from several state correctional officers.

“The final closure of this detention center removes a stain on the reputation of our state and Maryland’s correctional system,” Hogan said in a statement. “For years, corruption, criminal activity, and deplorable conditions have plagued this facility.”

The man who shut the troubled men’s jail in Baltimore has a lot more on his agenda

State officials estimate that the state will save $10 million to $15 million a year by closing the jail. Inmates were transferred to other parts of the Baltimore City pretrial complex.

Many advocates for prisoners praised Hogan for closing the facility, which they deemed one of the worst facilities in the country. But they also worried how some inmates, especially those who take medicines or received medical treatment, might be affected by the transfers.

Charles H. Dorsey III, deputy public defender for the state, said the main challenge his office initially faced in recent weeks was locating clients.

“It has been a challenge to find our clients,” Dorsey said, noting that his office represents about 80 percent of the jail’s caseload.