Gov. Martin O'Malley on Tuesday called last week's indictments of 25 inmates and correctional officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center "a very positive development" in the state's fight to dismantle violent gangs in state prisons.
A day after returning from a weeklong trade mission to Israel, the governor told a State House news conference that he is standing firmly behind Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services Gary D. Maynard in the wake of a federal probe that found widespread corruption and smuggling at the city jail.
O'Malley called Maynard "one of the best public safety secretaries in the entire nation" and gave him much of the credit for setting the investigation in motion by alerting federal authorities 18 months ago.
The governor said he directed Maynard to cooperate fully with the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office as they launched the probe into a scheme under which the gang known as the Black Guerrilla Family controlled the flow of contraband into the jail with the help of correctional officers. Among the findings of the investigation was that some female correctional officers became involved in sexual relationships with inmate Tavon White, the gang leader in the jail.
O'Malley vowed that the effort to "root out" rather than merely suppress corruption would continue in the state's prison system.
"This is the beginning. This is not the end," he said.
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