CORRUPTION IN BALTIMORE PRISON SYSTEM – Not much changed for Tavon White when he was incarcerated, in fact things became easier to manage and more profitable. From his jail cell this criminal, who is awaiting sentence on an attempted murder charge, has become the leader of a jailhouse gang called the Black Guerrilla Family.
Baltimore City Detention Center
You might not think that is such a big deal, movies have jailhouse gangs depicted as muscle groups that work within the confines of prison; not so with White. A federal indictment charges that White has constructed a system in which he smuggles drugs, cell phones and other contraband into not only his prison, but other correction facilities. Since 2009, records indicate he earned more than $500,000 through illegal activity while behind bars.
A common cell in the Baltimore Detention Center
To compound this feat it has been revealed that he did not work with fellow inmates alone, but had the help of thirteen female prison guards and five outsiders with gang ties. Most popular contraband brought into the facility include tobacco and marijuana. The correctional officers were allegedly paid by gang members using cash cards and were afforded the use of a BMW and Mercedes which White also bought while incarcerated.
Are you shocked or angry yet? How about this: Another twist to this story is the fact that four of the correctional officers have given birth to children fathered by White; one of them twice. It is reported that all the women have tattooed his name on their bodies.
Gary D Maynard, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
How did he do it? According to Maynard, White targeted and developed personal, then sexual relationships with 13 female correction officers who suffered from low self-esteem and were at risk for being easily influenced. In dealing with the situation, Maynard states that all the officers have been suspended without pay and the department was moving to fire them. The FBI is involved in the investigation and charges against White, the officers and inmates include conspiracy, drug possession and distribution and money laundering.
This entire situation is wrong on so many levels. Now granted there is a hierarchy in the prison system. That is only natural, given that it does operate as its own type of society. However to allow this much control to come into the hands of one man is questionable to say the least. After all, to gain that type of influence and power one must assert and prove himself as someone to be feared and respected. This is a shame when it happens to the inmates but to have reached the guards in the same capacity is unthinkable.
Years ago there was some discussion on whether prison guards should be restricted in gender by the population of the inmates. Female guards for the women’s centers and male guards for the men’s institutions. Why this was not enacted is beyond me and sexual abuse like this is just one reason why it makes sense. Sexual abuse runs rampant in the prison system and although having a gender-specific center would not stop all the abuse entirely, it would prevent pregnancy and possibly lessen its use as a tool for leverage.
Women guards having prisoner babies and willingly it seems in this case brings into question their ability to supervise others in this type of situation. Granted, it had been stated earlier that these women had self-esteem issues but if that is true and was apparent to their supervisors, why were they not removed from their positions earlier? Not only did it put prisoners at risk but obviously themselves as well.
On a positive note, the authorities should be recognized in making the decision for the offending officers to be removed from duty without pay, and will probably be fired. This is refreshing news, since so often we hear of corrupt officials being suspended with pay while they are being investigated for criminal activity. The loss of pay is not only a sign of justice in action but is the right thing to do.
“This is my jail. You understand that? I make every final call in this jail, … and nothing goes past me, everything comes to me …. Anything that gets done must go through me.” Tavon White
These words spoken by White reveal a character that is hardened with no respect for anyone but himself. Is there a punishment fitting for what he has done? That is for the courts to decide, but one thing is for sure–we will be following this story until its conclusion.
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