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Baltimore Jail
April 24, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that 13 female corrections officers, seven inmates and five others with gang ties have been charged with plotting to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband into Baltimore’s jail and other correctional facilities. According to an indictment, the ring involved sex between inmates and guards that led to four of the officers becoming pregnant, one of them twice, by Tavon White, leader of a gang called the Black Guerrilla Family.
posted by josher71 (55 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Two of the guards had his name tattooed on their bodies — one on her neck and another on her wrist, according to the indictment."

...wow.
posted by capnsue at 8:07 AM on April 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


Well, at least this won't reinforce the stereotypical view of Baltimore based on The Wire or anything.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:11 AM on April 24, 2013 [22 favorites]


When asked why all 13 were female, Maynard noted that more than 60 percent of the officers in the system are female, adding that women are more likely not to have criminal records and be able to pass tests needed to qualify. Gang members appear to have targeted officers they felt were vulnerable, he said.

What is it he really wanted to know here? Why, with a prisoner/guard scandal, all the sex was hetro? Why wasn't any of the illegal sex homo?

I bet this all leads back to The War on Drugs.
posted by It is better for you not to know. at 8:12 AM on April 24, 2013


Between this and the Chako Paul City thing I'm starting to think it's cheesy soft core movie pitch day on Metafilter or something. Anyone got a story about a gang of sex workers out for revenge? THESE KITTIES HAVE CLAWS.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:20 AM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


What is it he really wanted to know here? Why, with a prisoner/guard scandal, all the sex was hetro? Why wasn't any of the illegal sex homo?

At risk of missing something obvious here, there is a pretty wide range of crimes alleged aside from the sex, a lot of moving parts, money moving around, and it seems worth explaining either why zero male guards were involved or why they failed to catch anybody at that rung of the ladder.
posted by floam at 8:24 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


fuck yeah baltimore

I love this place.
posted by sidereal at 8:24 AM on April 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, at least this won't reinforce the stereotypical view of Baltimore based on The Wire or anything.

You missed the point, it's not Baltimore, it's this whole country.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:25 AM on April 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


When asked why all 13 were female, Maynard noted that more than 60 percent of the officers in the system are female, adding that women are more likely not to have criminal records and be able to pass tests needed to qualify.

In case anyone fails to see the social significance of this sentence: He's basically saying that they cannot find enough adult male humans in Baltimore who lack criminal records and are sufficiently intelligent to become correctional officers.

That should be a highly ominous warning about the general state of social conditions within the city, but it's sort of shrugged off as an aside. A bit of trivia, almost.
posted by Avenger at 8:25 AM on April 24, 2013 [67 favorites]


He's basically saying that they cannot find enough adult male humans in Baltimore who lack criminal records and are sufficiently intelligent to become correctional officers.
at the prevailing wage. Still ominous for slightly different reasons.
posted by shothotbot at 8:28 AM on April 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


Looks like it pays around 40k a year. Not bad for B'more at all.
posted by josher71 at 8:30 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


40k plus all the drugs and sex you want!!
posted by marienbad at 8:34 AM on April 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


My next door neighbor is a Bmore lady corrections officer - I'll ask her about this next time I see her and report back (assuming she has not been indicted).
posted by sidereal at 8:36 AM on April 24, 2013


Also assuming she doesn't "indict" you for asking.
posted by notyou at 8:37 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's interesting how The Wire has turned Baltimore into a bit of a theme park, isn't it?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah Baltimore. I always tell my friends that The Wire was a documentary and really, it was. I still can't watch it.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:40 AM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's interesting how The Wire has turned Baltimore into a bit of a theme park, isn't it?

I think it just documented it.
posted by sidereal at 8:41 AM on April 24, 2013


scooped by mygothlaundry!
posted by sidereal at 8:42 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I keep telling people that The Wire was ten years out of date when it aired. There aren't any projects anymore, so they used Elderly Housing as a stand-in, etc.

Then shit like this happens.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:46 AM on April 24, 2013


What is it he really wanted to know here? Why, with a prisoner/guard scandal, all the sex was hetro? Why wasn't any of the illegal sex homo?

I've heard of multiple scandals involving het sex between guards & prisoners, but can't remember hearing one about gay sex between guards & prisoners. Not that it doesn't happen, but I haven't seen it hit the news over the years.

A gay male prison guard who has sex with a prisoner, I would suspect, would lose massive face and respect in front of the male predators and criminals he has to supervise and control. Word gets out that he's not "all man", he's gonna get challenged a lot more on the tiers. Given that at the end of your shift, one can go to a bar and hook up, that's gotta be one damn SEXAH criminal to be enticing.

Women guards get shit just for being women, so that ball is already rolling.

Plus, given that the vast majority of the population is het, the majority of the predator criminals behind bars are going to be het, so their experience and expertise in manipulation and head-games will be in dealing with women. Watch the docu American Pimp. "Its just you and me against the world, baby!" Recognizing which ones look tough but are vulnerable, who gives off the unconscious signs of being "prey", this basic predator skills.

Or so my overindulgence in prison documentaries would lead me to suspect.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:47 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


josher71: Looks like it pays around 40k a year. Not bad for B'more at all.

That's probably not great for a job where you have to pass a stringent background check, constant drug tests, and other security checks. If you can pass all of that (and don't forget that bad credit or dodgy friends/relatives can be enough to prevent it), you could probably get a less depressing job in law enforcement, or a security clearance to work with the military.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:51 AM on April 24, 2013


My next door neighbor is a Bmore lady corrections officer - I'll ask her about this

I'd pass if she has a name tattooed on her neck.
posted by Blue Meanie at 8:54 AM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it just documented it.

It's a TV show, not a documentary. I totally agree that drugs and prisons are big industries in the US, and that corruption is an issue, and that The Wire was entertaining and socially relevant, but Baltimore is a bit more than drugs, jail cells and crooked guards.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:08 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bet this all leads back to The War on Drugs.
posted by It is better for you not to know. at 11:12 AM on April 24

eponysterical
posted by tyllwin at 9:12 AM on April 24, 2013


In case anyone fails to see the social significance of this sentence: He's basically saying that they cannot find enough adult male humans in Baltimore who lack criminal records and are sufficiently intelligent to become correctional officers.

Women have higher graduation rates - not certain about this particular prison system, but federal corrections officers need a Bachelor's to apply. More qualified candidates, more employees - this is the way an actual meritocracy is supposed to work as opposed to the ones where everyone who's a qualified candidate is a white man.

Of course, now this incident will be used to justify rolling back opportunities for women in criminal justice...
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:29 AM on April 24, 2013


A gay male prison guard who has sex with a prisoner, I would suspect, would lose massive face

Aren't most prison sexual assaults committed by guards against inmates?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:56 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Am I reading it right that the main gang member White (aka Bulldog) is still awaiting trial on a 2009 charge? I know the wheels of justice turn slowly, but still...
posted by artdesk at 10:17 AM on April 24, 2013


For those curious, here's the corrections office recruiting page.
posted by josher71 at 10:22 AM on April 24, 2013


It's a TV show, not a documentary.

That was hyperbole, BP
posted by sidereal at 10:27 AM on April 24, 2013


Am I reading it right that the main gang member White (aka Bulldog) is still awaiting trial on a 2009 charge? I know the wheels of justice turn slowly, but still...

It's the Bronx, not Baltimore, but the NY Times was reporting on this recently, where some defendents are waiting more than five years to come to trial.
posted by Jahaza at 10:28 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've heard of inmate/guard sex cases before but it was always male guards preying on women prisoners for favors. How on earth does it work the other way around, when the women are the guards with all the power?

Was the draw of helping out the inmate that he lead a huge drug gang and could promise lots of money/drugs/prestige/safety on the outside to the guards?
posted by mathowie at 10:30 AM on April 24, 2013


According to the article, jail officials made an informal arrangement to look the other way to White's doings in exchange for him maintaining order in the prison. Who are those officials and why haven't they been indicted yet?
posted by MegoSteve at 10:43 AM on April 24, 2013


This reads like a lost film collaboration between Russ Meyer and Charles Manson.
posted by benzenedream at 10:46 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Plus, given that the vast majority of the population is het, the majority of the predator criminals behind bars are going to be het

I wasn't familiar with that abbreviation of hetero, so it took me a minute to realize you didn't mean het as in heated or agitated. I thought you were using it as slang along the lines of "hot to trot." Basically I read it as: "obviously these predator criminals are uncontrollably horny, as are we all."
posted by stopgap at 11:05 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


jail officials made an informal arrangement to look the other way to White's doings in exchange for him maintaining order in the prison

I understand that kind of exchange, but how on earth does him having sex with the guards get into it? Does he use the control of the prison population as a threat to coerce them into sex?
posted by mathowie at 11:08 AM on April 24, 2013


I assumed that the guards wanted to have sex with the prisoners, is that disproved somewhere?
posted by shothotbot at 11:22 AM on April 24, 2013


I assumed that the guards wanted to have sex with the prisoners, is that disproved somewhere?

That's not really the point. There's a reason any personal involvement by a CO is strictly forbidden. Not only does it lead to certain situations like this, it also leads to problems when a prisoner now has some sort of leverage. Also it could be used by a defense lawyet to question credibility when one of the COs has to testify in court.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:35 AM on April 24, 2013


jail officials made an informal arrangement to look the other way to White's doings in exchange for him maintaining order in the prison

I understand that kind of exchange, but how on earth does him having sex with the guards get into it? Does he use the control of the prison population as a threat to coerce them into sex?


No, they're attracted to him.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:39 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've heard of inmate/guard sex cases before but it was always male guards preying on women prisoners for favors. How on earth does it work the other way around, when the women are the guards with all the power?

Check out Victor Conte describing his time in jail. Very different kind of jail, but...
posted by Chuckles at 11:39 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's not really the point. There's a reason any personal involvement by a CO is strictly forbidden.

Yeah, I know. I was wondering about the directionality of the coercion: did the guards coerce the inmates or did the inmates coerce the guards?
posted by shothotbot at 11:40 AM on April 24, 2013


I feel like there should be some sort of sanction for professional news organizations referenceing the wire when reporting this story. Three demerits for npr.
posted by shothotbot at 11:41 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was wondering about the directionality of the coercion: did the guards coerce the inmates or did the inmates coerce the guards?

Is there anything in here that suggests coercion? It looks like some very attractive, charismatic prisoners convinced some female guards to make a very big mistake, but not particularly coercively.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:39 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu Aren't most prison sexual assaults committed by guards against inmates?

It's a couple years old, but here's one set of DoJ statistics (covering federal and state prisons and some local jails). So far as I'm aware, the results are not significantly different from other similar surveys/studies.

Anyway, to answer your question: it depends. Male inmates are more likely to be sexually abused/assaulted by prison staff (and the majority of those incidents involve female staff). Female inmates are more likely to be sexually abused/assaulted by fellow inmates.
posted by ubernostrum at 12:44 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


by texting the 14-digit PIN numbers of reloadable prepaid credit cards
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:16 PM on April 24, 2013


I've heard of inmate/guard sex cases before but it was always male guards preying on women prisoners for favors. How on earth does it work the other way around, when the women are the guards with all the power?

Why does any person have a sexual (or even just romantic) relationship with someone who mistreats and uses them when the only hold that abuser has on them is manipulation? *shrug* I bet if you think about it you can come up with examples of a man taking advantage of a women who has the theoretical power to end it.

I've seen men who bring nothing to the table other than charm and manipulation take advantage of women monetarily. I bet it wouldn't take much time to find a bunch of askmefi questions that fit the bill, where a no-job man spends the woman's money and puts them at risk of arrest or other disaster, absent any threat of physical harm.

I guess the things that lead one person to be corrupted by someone else aren't prevented merely by the presence of a wall of bars and a uniform.
posted by phearlez at 2:24 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crazily enough, I think the operative dynamic here is that despite being prisoners the men actually had more social capital than anyone else the guards knew, making them attractive mates to the women.

No, that's not the way it's supposed to work, but....
posted by dhartung at 2:29 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


RobotVoodooPower: "Well, at least this won't reinforce the stereotypical view of Baltimore based on The Wire or anything."

This may be over-reaching, but the idea of american exceptionalism is so deeply ingrained in each of us, that when we see common corruption that has common causes we can't call it for what it is.

If the word Baltimore in the same article was replaced with Sao Paulo it would be easy to parse out: corruption, few reasonable living wages (these are often the only new unionized jobs available and hiring, and women do step into roles that men discard), low wages, low oversight, low incentives for an under-class of society that we have decided to ignore and throw away, and imprison. It's only corruption when a politician in India is paid off to produce a bill that helps individuals at the expense of society; when a huge shadow lobbying complex does it at a vaster scale, it's called process and free speech.

ennui.bz: "Well, at least this won't reinforce the stereotypical view of Baltimore based on The Wire or anything.

You missed the point, it's not Baltimore, it's this whole country.
"

The Wire isn't the Wire because it describes just one city's disfunction. It's the Wire because it shows deeply ingrained social issues, and how they resist change and justice. Thinking of the show as describing a THEM (urban blacks) or THERE (its JUST Baltimore) just reinforces the entire point of the show, that the structures that have emerged that keep things the same for the worst off in society are so pervasive that you can't even see them until you try to push against them.

Avenger: "In case anyone fails to see the social significance of this sentence: He's basically saying that they cannot find enough adult male humans in Baltimore who lack criminal records and are sufficiently intelligent to become correctional officers.

That should be a highly ominous warning about the general state of social conditions within the city, but it's sort of shrugged off as an aside. A bit of trivia, almost.
"

Alternative reading, prison jobs can be seen as incredibly low status. It is not the case that there aren't enough men who can't become correctional officers, but that there aren't enough men from the population who would want to.

An alternate reading; what would be the best way to capture an institution that's a regular part of life for a large portion of a black male population in cities? Put your own people in charge of that state apparatus. Genius.
posted by stratastar at 2:41 PM on April 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


This happens in every prison, although not necessarily to this scale. I know for a fact that it's happened many times at Folsom Prison (old and new), and it's not always the COs. There are many other correctional staff that come into contact with inmates.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:04 PM on April 24, 2013


Are You Watching the Wire?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:02 PM on April 24, 2013


Could be a plotline if Starz network did a season 6 of the wire. ... rollover some of the Spartacus actors into a separate BPD Sex Crimes unit; get at least two original Wire actors... ka-ching for at least one season.
posted by buzzman at 8:36 PM on April 24, 2013


Okay that story is depressing
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:51 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Why, with a prisoner/guard scandal, all the sex was hetro? Why wasn't any of the illegal sex homo?

That's not "sex," it's...something else but we don't know what. Because it's important that it not be rape or consensual homosexual sex.
posted by desuetude at 10:56 PM on April 24, 2013


It's a TV show, not a documentary. I totally agree that drugs and prisons are big industries in the US, and that corruption is an issue, and that The Wire was entertaining and socially relevant, but Baltimore is a bit more than drugs, jail cells and crooked guards.

Yeah, there's also broken schools, corrupt elections, ineffectual newspapers, and those tough guys down at the docks!
posted by kaibutsu at 11:05 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Has anyone ever worked out the average number of comments ("Omar's Coefficient"?) in posts, threads or other online columns about Baltimore, before the first reference to The Wire appears?
posted by Wordshore at 3:29 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Followup: my neighbor is from a different facility and not involved. I'm glad - she's really nice.
posted by sidereal at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Another, more in depth, article on the case from the WaPo.
posted by josher71 at 4:31 AM on May 9, 2013


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