Gov. Martin O'Malley

Gov. Martin O'Malley spoke last month about the indictments regarding the Baltimore City Detention Center. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun / April 30, 2013)

While the governor's statement proposed specific cellphone legislation, it left much painted only in broad brush strokes. Corrections officials said many parts of the state's response to the indictment, including new security procedures and changes to the discipline process, are still under "review."

In the meantime, corrections chief Gary D. Maynard has begun a review of operations at the jail, including polygraph testing for senior officials. That investigation recently led to the removal of the head of security at the jail.

O'Malley said other officials would be removed if their "job performance or integrity compromises the security of our jail or prisons."

The governor's plan also includes a promise to review the Corrections Officers Bill of Rights, a protection passed by state lawmakers in 2010 at the urging of labor leaders. The FBI said in court filings that the law may have stymied the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' efforts to fight corruption.

Patrick Moran, the president of AFSCME Council 3, which represents many corrections officers in Maryland, said the FBI made a "misstatement" in placing blame on the bill of rights.

"There's no indication or evidence that we've seen that it makes it difficult for the department to discipline [corrections officers]," he said. "What has happened is not a reflection on the COBR."

The governor also said the state will review discipline procedures to "enhance our ability to crack down on correctional officers who violate the public's trust."

O'Malley said officials are planning to expand the use of cellphone suppression technology, which blocks unauthorized signals getting through to jails and prisons. A pilot program has been running at a prison in Baltimore since last year and corrections spokesman Rick Binetti said the department is "assessing" its use at the detention center.

The governor also called on the General Assembly to pass legislation upping the sentences for inmates convicted of possessing a phone behind bars. A measure that would have made second and subsequent offenses a felony failed to pass this year.

But some Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee called for the current law to be more vigorously enforced, particularly against corrections officers. Del. Jill P. Carter, a Baltimore Democrat, said a focus on criminal penalties for smuggling contraband was "deflecting attention off the real problem."

"It's the state's responsibility to make sure that what goes on in our house is appropriate," she said. "You can't push it off on the gang members, the inmates or low-level corrections officers."

Baltimore Sun reporter Michael Dresser contributed to this article.