Va. corrections official to head agency that will oversee City Jail


A 40-year-old lawyer who worked in community corrections in Richmond, Va., and New York City has been named to head the new state agency that will operate the Baltimore City Jail, state officials announced yesterday.

LaMont Flanagan was introduced to Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the other members of the state Board of Public Works by Maryland's public safety chief Bishop L. Robinson. The jail will be transferred to the state July 1 and become known as the Baltimore Detention Center.

"You'll find it is a real challenge in that Baltimore City Jail," Governor Schaefer told Mr. Flanagan.

It was the governor who proposed the jail transfer as a way to lift the increasing financial burden the facility was placing on the cash-poor city. The Maryland General Assembly approved the takeover during the 1991 session, and state and city officials have been working ever since to ensure a smooth transition.

While at the Board of Public Works, Mr. Robinson also introduced David N. Bezanson, 38, a former vice president at USF&G; who will become the new deputy secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Mr. Bezanson will oversee property management, capital projects and maintenance of the agency's facilities. He replaces John O'Neill, who left the state this year to become director of procurement for Harford County.

The Public Works Board approved a request by Mr. Robinson to set at $77,336 Mr. Flanagan's salary as commissioner of the new Division of Pretrial and Detention Services. It also approved salaries of $66,034 for the deputy commissioner of pretrial detention, and $63,235 for the warden of the Baltimore Detention Center. Mr. Robinson has not appointed a warden for the center.

City Jail Warden Barbara A. Bostick was told nearly two weeks agothat she would not remain in her post after the state takeover.

Mr. Flanagan will oversee a new division in the state public safety system made up of the Maryland pretrial release system and the City Jail, which holds about 2,600 inmates. Mr. Robinson did not permit Mr. Flanagan to discuss his plans for the jail until he meets with a legislative subcommittee on corrections tomorrow.

Mr. Flanagan comes to Maryland from Virginia, where he was executive director of the Richmond Community Corrections Resource Board, which sought to rehabilitate non-violent offenders by treating them for drug and alcohol problems, placing them in jobs and helping them make restitution.

Before that, Mr. Flanagan said he was "division director at the largest pretrial penal system in the world," Riker's Island in New York City.

While at USF&G;, Mr. Bezanson was in charge of all of the company's facilities nationwide.

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