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baltimoresun.com

Fix city jail by tearing up officers' 'bill of rights'

7:00 AM EDT, May 21, 2013

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I have followed national news reports of 13 correctional officer involved in partnership activities with inmates as well as four female correctional officers getting pregnant by inmates ("Alleged gang leader in poor jail conditions, his lawyer says," May 15). No one can deny that this is alarming and disgraceful!

Unions will say it is the result of under-staffing and more money is the answer. Money and more staff is not the answer. It is leadership! Gov. Martin O'Malley demonstrated his lack leadership skills and lack of common sense when he endorsed the union's bill of rights which gives correctional officers an automatic appeal before three correctional officers.

The bill of rights allows correctional officers to appeal for any infraction that management imposes. If the appeals board (of three correctional officers) disagrees with management's discipline of the accused correctional officer, management's discipline is dismissed and the case is over. The correctional officer goes back to their job. You cannot rid the department of corruption when the system is corrupt.

Recently on Fox News, Bill O'Reilly called for the dismissal of Gary Maynard, Maryland's Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary. I know Mr. Maynard as a retired U.S. Army General with 40-plus years of prison leadership. I have worked with him. He is a leader and will right the system with the help of many dedicated hard working correctional officers who come to work daily and do a difficult job. Call on the legislators to rescind the "Correctional Officers Bill of Rights." It is flawed from the core. If the officers do their jobs, follow the rules and policies, it is not needed. Maryland voters would be wise to dump Governor O'Malley and elect a leader. The citizens of Maryland deserve better.

Roger Baysden