- The Washington Times - Friday, May 27, 2005

JESSUP, Md. (AP) — For the fourth time this year, an inmate has been slain at a state corrections facility.

The latest homicide occurred about 10 a.m. Thursday in the exercise yard of the Maryland House of Correction Annex when a 26-year-old inmate staggered up to a correction officer clutching his stomach where he had been stabbed.

About 300 to 400 inmates were in the yard at the time. No weapons had been recovered and no suspects or motives had been identified, authorities said.

The victim, who was serving a 30-year sentence for murder, attempted murder and weapons violations, was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died nearly three hours later, said George Gregory, a spokesman for the Division of Correction.

Authorities would not identify the inmate, saying they had not contacted his relatives.

The Annex is essentially a prison-within-a-prison — a separate, walled and razor-wired enclave inside the House of Correction compound. The maximum-security prison houses many of Maryland’s most violent prisoners, some of whom belong to prison gangs.

An inmate was stabbed to death at the Annex in January, and four stabbings on consecutive days in February led to a monthlong lockdown there while authorities searched for homemade knives and other weapons. Hours after the lockdown was lifted, another inmate was stabbed.

After Thursday’s homicide, Commissioner of Correction Frank C. Sizer Jr. said the Annex would remain on lockdown indefinitely.

Union officials representing state correctional officers have blamed much of the recent violence on staff cuts.

But Mr. Sizer put more of the blame on program cuts. He said there were too few programs and jobs available to constructively engage the prison population.

“Best practices tell you that if you are going to manage that kind of population, you have to keep them busy,” Mr. Sizer told the Baltimore Sun.

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