Allegations that a cabal of Black Guerrilla Family gang members effectively took over the Baltimore City Detention Center have prompted a rare out-of-session legislative hearing on the state's prison system.
The House Judiciary Committee scheduled a May 8 public inquiry into the matter, according to committee members and staff. The House Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for the prison system, has been invited to attend the 1 p.m. meeting.
A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday alleged the BGF gang, under the leadership of inmate Tavon White, established a lucrative smuggling operation that involved corrupt female corrections officers. The indictment alleges White orchestrated gang activity from behind bars and impregnated four of the officers. Federal prosecutors said White ruled through a combination of financial incentives and a network of sexual relationships with guards.
Lawmakers on Wednesday called for a full accounting of how a state-run jail could become overrun by a gang within its walls and how more than a dozen correctional officers were allegedly complicit in an operation that trafficked in marijuana, prescription pills and cellphones.
By Thursday, the committee that oversees public safety legislation set the hearing for next month. The General Assembly session adjourned April 9, but the Judiciary Committee is calling its members back to Annapolis to discuss the jail situation. As of Thursday afternoon, it was not clear who would be called to testify before the committee.
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Gary D. Maynard has said everything in his department is his responsibility. State officials said they asked for federal help in Baltimore when they realized the jail had a gang problem.