Carroll County Jail: Overcrowded and Looking for Long-Term Solutions

Faced with overcrowding and limits to the types of services that can be provided, officials in Carroll County are discussing a proposal to add a minimum security facility to complement the county’s current maximum security jail. As reported in The Carroll County Times:

Warden George Hardinger is proposing a minimum security facility that would complement the maximum security Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster. In addition to providing more space, a minimum security facility would allow the county to update its correctional model to include a wide variety of treatment programs designed to move people closer to their eventual release, he said.

“It’s very hard to do that with what we have right now,” Hardinger said. “So it’s in part about additional beds, but it’s equally about getting into the 21st century with our correctional services we provide in a cost-effective manner.”

Hardinger said there is an encouraging trend in the criminal justice and corrections systems of identifying those inmates who are better suited in jail and those who are not.

“That’s where a minimum [security] facility comes into play,” he said. “It addresses treatment needs so in the long-term these people will spin out of the criminal justice system. We are behind the times.”

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said inmate rehabilitation was a topic at last week’s Maryland Association of Counties Summer Conference, which the commissioners and county staff attended.

“There are great things happening in other jurisdictions,” Wantz said. “They are really doing things — and no pun intended — outside of the cell, if you will, to deal with the overpopulation and to get those identified not as hard-core folks back into mainstream life.”

The article notes that the Carroll County Detention Center, which was built to house 185 inmates, currently houses 216 inmates and contracts with nearby jurisdictions to house inmates they do not have the room to house.

For more information read the full article in The Carroll County Times.

Additional coverage: Editorial: New Detention Center Idea Has Promise (The Carroll County Times)