In a scandal that rocked the city of Baltimore and highlighted just how inmates were running the prison, 25 people were indicted, 13 of which were female prison guards. According to “Time” magazine, the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) and its leader Tavon White were running a variety of illegal operations, “in which inmates virtually controlled the jail in which they were incarcerated.”
Prison gang leader fathers five children while guards tattoo his name
In fact, several of the female corrections officers had sex with the gang’s leader, Tavon White, and four of them became pregnant (one twice) with his children. Two of these guards also had White’s name tattooed on their bodies (one on her neck, another on her wrist).
Contraband, such as drugs and cell phones, were in widespread use, often provided by corrections officers. A recorded conversation by White, included in the indictment, illustrated the depth of his control. Noted White, “This is my jail. You understand that? I’m dead serious….I make every final call in this jail…and nothing go past me, everything come to me.” (White was being held on murder charges, awaiting trial.)
In exchange for their cooperation with the BGF, female guards received diamond rings and luxury vehicles (such as Acura, BMW and Mercedes), at least two of which were purchased with profits gained by White from sales of contraband in prison.
Discovery of the scandal
It appears that the illegal activity was in play from 2009 to February 2013, when a group of 30 corrections officers from other Maryland facilities, as well as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, raided the facility. They carried out surprise searches of inmates’ cells, where they discovered a wide range of drugs (including everything from oxycodone to marijuana) and other contraband.
According to the “Daily Mail,” FBI Special Agent Stephen Vogt suggested, “The inmates literally took over ‘the asylum,’ and the detention centers became safe havens for BGF.” Along with all five female guards who had sex with White, eight others who performed a variety of “duties,” from keeping lookout during sexual escapades to warning of searches to providing contraband, were also indicted. In total 25 people have been charged.
According to the “Baltimore Sun,” prison guards were able to smuggle contraband into the facility due to lax security procedures. “The chances of being searched effectively were remote,” the newspaper noted.
According to “Time” all 25 will be charged with bribery, drug possession and distribution, extortion, money laundering and racketeering. These charges carry minimum sentences of 20 years, if convicted. Despite this, state legislators and the people of Maryland have found the situation of widespread corruption “shocking” and have called for statewide reform.