In April, news broke that inmates were running the asylum that is the Baltimore City Detention Center. A sweeping federal indictment alleged widespread smuggling and implicated 25 defendants—including members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang and 13 female correctional offers—in an elaborate scheme that brought drugs, cell phones, and other contraband into the facility.
But that wasn’t the most shocking aspect of the case. Prosecutors maintained that officers not only participated in the scheme, they also took orders from gang members and had sexual relationships with them.
“I make every final call in this jail and nothing goes past me,” gang leader Tavon White said during a phone conversation recorded by investigators.
White allegedly impregnated four prison guards and pocketed as much as $15,000 a month selling contraband behind bars. The scandal shook the already beleaguered correctional system, became national news, and put Gov. Martin O’Malley, who’d pledged to improve the prison system, on the defensive.
When O’Malley praised the indictments as “a positive development,” critics pounced and some observers speculated the scandal could dog him for years and possibly diminish his chances for a 2016 presidential bid. At press time, White, three other defendants, and seven correctional officers had pleaded guilty.