- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Open house at a former big house
Now-shut Jessup prison gets its last looks
JESSUP, Md. — For more than a century, the Maryland House of Correction was a place its residents hoped to escape, but on Sunday, hundreds of people lined the front walk in the hot sun, waiting for their last chance to step inside the prison grounds.
This weekend marked what are expected to be the final public tours for the historic facility, a brick monolith that sits atop a hill in Jessup surrounded by towering fences and endless coils of barbed wire. Shut down five years ago when inmate violence reached a fatal peak, the quickly deteriorating prison is set for deconstruction later this yearby specially trained inmates who are close to their release dates.
Wandering the dim corridors and studying the peeling paint and crumbling cell bars, visitors took their time inside the stuffy prison. Some asked questions like curious neighborswho knew little about the old building, while others remembered what it was like to walk those halls many years ago.
“It’s a sentimental thing,” said Baltimore resident Peaches H. “I couldn’t remember how to get here.”
The 57-year-old asked to remain somewhat anonymous as her ex-husband is still incarcerated in a neighboring prison, but 20 years ago, the Maryland House of Correction was a place she visited frequently to see her former spouse. On Sunday, she came with her grown daughter —barely a year old when she visited her father behind bars — and grandson.
“I came to see where he actually slept,” she said.
The visiting room, mess hall, and tiny cells all had an impact on Ms. H., but she said she wanted to see where her ex-husband spent time.
“I just felt like I should come down here,” she said. ‘It’s still a part of my life.”
The last warden of the Maryland House of Correction and the man in charge of the deconstruction, Gary Hornbaker, said inmates began dismantling the facility last September, evidence of which could be seen from wood and metal doors stacked along walls, and dozens of porcelain toilets grouped in corners.The entire project is set to finish in late 2014.
Mr. Hornbaker, 62, said the reuse of some of the prison’s property at other correction centers has saved about $140,000 so far. Reused items include bricks, plumbing fixtures, cell doors and fencing.
The inmates taking apart the building have roughly two or three years of prison time before their release, Mr. Hornbaker said. Some of the workers can get certified in asbestos and lead abatement, which can be put on future resumes.
“People don’t realize that 94 percent of inmates are going home. They’re going to be your neighbors,” Mr. Hornbaker said. “What are they going to do? Nothing, because you have given them anything?”
Just this week, the neighboring Patuxent Institutionsaved $22,000 by using equipment from the House of Correction, said Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Public Safety and Correctional Services Department.
Officials estimate that deconstruction over demolition should save taxpayers millions of dollars, as well as keep extra materials out of landfills.
Mr. Vernarelli said that more than 800 people visited the prison on Saturday. Among those visitors were former employees and even a few inmates, he said. On Sunday, a detective and judge also made their way through the building.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Maryland makes 'top tier' for its control of guns
- Snow prompts closures in D.C. area, slippery conditions remain
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Operation Homefront gives meals to military
- Early snowfall changes to sleet in D.C. area
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow