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O’Malley’s StateStat program lacking data for prison at center of corruption scandal

StateStat, Governor Martin O’Malley’s vaunted data metric system for measuring government performance, contains no specific information on contraband seizures for the facility at the heart of prison scandal where the U.S. Justice Department alleges several guards assisted the Black Guerrilla Family gang in drug trafficking and money laundering.

According to the federal indictment 13 sate correctional officers assisted the BGF’s criminal enterprise outside the prison by smuggling cellphones, drugs and other contraband into the state run Baltimore City Detention Center.  BGF kingpin, Tavon White, impregnated four female prison guards.  On an intercepted cell phone call White said, “This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious. I make every final call in this jail.”

Despite boasting about “improving gang intelligence” and being “a leader in cell phone interdiction” DPSCS StateStat reports list no information about the number of cell phone or other contraband seizures, if any, at BCDC.

The latest StateStat contraband summary detailing DPSCS seizures, issued in March of 2012, does not list any specific contraband seizures data for BCDC.  Notes from that March StateStat meeting indicate a decrease in cell phone seizures at maximum-security facilities, but that cell phone smuggling is “consistently pervasive” at pre-release facilities.  The meeting notes also report that monitoring cameras were installed “on the Eager St. side of BCDC” to monitor “cell phones thrown over the wall.”  The report also noted a 160 percent increase in seizures between November and December of 2011.

This begs the question why doesn’t StateStat break out cell phone and other contraband seizures at BCDC as it does for other correctional facilities?

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“Once again state stat does not work as advertised” said Larry Hogan, Chairman of the grassroots group Change Maryland. “Cell phones in prison are the keys to the kingdom, allowing bad actors like Tayvon White to do everything from ordering hits on the street to getting drugs and other contraband inside the prison.  O’Malley should stop talking about state stat unless it works.”

According to the StateStat report web page, 29 DPSCS State Stat meetings were held in 2011, but only 4 in 2012.  None of the reports from 2011 contain contraband seizure information for BCDC.

O’Malley, who is weighing a presidential run in 2016, often touts his data-driven approach to governing embodied in StateStat.  However, over the last few years, a series of legislative audits have revealed: a lack of accountability for the state’s speed camera vendors, chronic cronyism and violations of state procurement laws at the State Highway Administration, failure of the state education department to conduct background checks for child care workers, lack of monitoring of state tax credits by the Department of Business and Economic Development, failure of the state labor department to inspect elevators, and millions in lost and overpaid funds at the Developmental Disabilities Administration.

Now, the BCDC scandal appears to have put another serious dent in credibility of StateStat.

Mark Newgent

Mark Newgent is a contributing editor to Red Maryland, the premiere blog of conservative politics in the Free State, voted one of the best state political blogs by the Washington Post two years in a row. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, and more. Twitter: @MarkNewgent

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Categories: Criminal Justice, Must Read, Transparency, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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