County sticks with plan to build Glen Burnie jail Council opposes new jail, proposed expansion of existing one


County officials said they will continue to plan for a new jail in Glen Burnie and an addition to the jail outside Annapolis, even though the County Council continued to oppose both plans yesterday.

Tom Mullenix, assistant budget officer, said the county administration's capital budget calls for construction of a 650-bed, $87 million jail that would be completed on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie in 1998.

The planned completion date for the Glen Burnie jail was put back two years after a storm of protests from angry community groups led the council to vote against building it in March.

Detention Center Superintendent Richard Baker, testifying before the council yesterday, said his $11.4 million budget includes projections for 60 more inmates a day, which would raise the jail population to 600 inmates and require 22 more jail guards.

Baker's capital budget also includes $885,000 for planning and site work to build a second 200-bed addition to the existing jail in 1994.

The jail, on Jennifer Road outside Annapolis, already is undergoing an expansion that will add 100 beds in June and another 100 next year, Baker said.

But plans to expand the jail ran into council opposition yesterday.

Councilwoman Maureen Lamb opposes plans to build another addition at the Jennifer Road site and in recent weeks has begun handing out informational fliers on area highways to alert neighbors to expansion plans.

She said current plans for a 200-bed addition atop a 200-bed addition about to be completed would put an unfair share of the burden for jails in her district.

"We have been housing prisoners for a long time in Annapolis, and I don't mind doing that," she said.

"I wouldn't even mind [having a new jail] in my district if we could find a place for that. What I object to is Jennifer Road. There's a great deal of difference between 1,000 people and what it was built for, which is 400."

She added that she's afraid the county will never build another jail if it enlarges Jennifer Road.

"You know perfectly well if they build for 950 people, they'll never build one anywhere else," Lamb said.

But county officials said they had little choice but to continue plans to build in Glen Burnie.

Mullenix said a 1991 consultant's report said the county could build a high-rise jail at the Jennifer Road site, but it would cost $30 million more than finding another location.

Baker and other county officials say the council will have to decide soon because the inmates will need a jail.

"They have to recognize that if they delay it, there's going to be a significant cost increase to stay on site [in Annapolis]," Mullenix said.

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