Cumberland Times-News

Letters

March 8, 2014

Goal: Make NBCI most secure Md. maximum security prison

The top priority of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is to ensure the safety of our staff and the incarcerated offenders in our care.

That we have been able to drive down department-wide serious assaults on our correctional officers by 60 percent since FY 2007 is evidence of that, as is the 53 percent drop in inmate serious assaults during that time.

 We’ve lowered total assaults on staff by 34 percent at North Branch Correctional Institution since 2009, its first full-year of operation.

What creates a safe institution is adherence to a standardized set of policies and procedures, which hold inmates, correctional staff, their supervisors, and the prison administration accountable — not the use of long-term lockdowns.

 The department now has a plan in place to transition NBCI back to operate as the state’s most secure maximum security prison.

This means managing the needs of our officers, supporting supervisory staff, and providing inmates with the appropriate programs and services in a well-managed environment. We are slowly moving toward these goals without compromising the safety of our officers.

One of the aims of accreditation by the American Correctional Association (ACA) is to increase staff safety.

Since 2009, the Department’s only two ACA Accredited prisons, Eastern Correctional Institution and Western Correctional Institution, which is also a maximum security facility, have seen just five serious assaults on staff between them.

Accreditation creates uniform policy and procedures, increases officer training, and allows for more effective third-party audits, building on the impressive work already accomplished by our Department since 2007.

Wayne Webb, executive director

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services North Region

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