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Next Steps After Governor Hogan's Announcement That The City Detention Center Will Close

Blink Ofanaye // Flickr Creative Commons

The men’s detention center was built in East Baltimore before the Civil War.  Now it’s part of a cluster of more than a dozen public-safety buildings run by the state. Yesterday Governor Hogan called it dilapidated, dangerous, a place of corruption -- and said he’s closing it at once: "The individuals currently housed in the men’s detention center will immediately be moved to other facilities in Baltimore City or in nearby areas," Gov. Hogan said.  "There’s plenty of capacity elsewhere in the system to meet this need. Given the space that we have, it makes no sense whatsoever to keep this deplorable facility open.  Frankly, I cannot understand why this action didn’t happen years ago." 

Between 700 and 800 men awaiting trial will be moved; the governor said none of the 772 employees who work in the facility would lose their jobs. His announcement left unanswered many questions, including where the men would be moved to.

With Sheilah Kast to discuss some of the issues the closure puts in focus is Debra Gardner, legal director of the non-profit Public Justice Center. She’s been working with the ACLU’s National Prison Project on litigation challenging conditions in the jail.  Also with us is Natalie Finegar, Deputy District Public Defender in the Office of the Public Defender.

And on the phone is state Sen. Cathy Pugh, a Baltimore democrat who is majority leader of the Senate and co-chair of the legislature’s Workgroup on Public Safety. 

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.