BALTIMORE (AP) — A severe staffing shortage in Maryland prisons and jails is creating dangerous conditions for both prisoners and guards, according to a report released Thursday by the union representing state correctional officers.
The report — which includes a detailed analysis of current staffing levels and assignments in Maryland’s 19 state-run facilities — calls on the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to hire over 3,400 more correctional officers, saying the agency is operating “at an all-time low.”
The problem isn’t unique to Maryland. Corrections systems and law enforcement agencies across the country have struggled to recruit and retain officers in recent years. During a Thursday morning news conference, union leaders said they’re hopeful Maryland’s newly elected Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat, will take steps to address the problem after what they called a lack of action under his predecessor, Republican Larry Hogan.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, corrections spokesman Mark Vernarelli said the agency appreciates Moore’s commitment to filling vacancies across the state and getting the government “back to firing on all cylinders.” He said the department has hired 404 people already under the current administration, a 62% increase over this time last year.
Union leaders said they hope those numbers continue increasing.
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Written by: Editor