A look behind bars at Eastern Correctional Institution
The gates of Eastern Correctional Institution keep more than 3,400 offenders separate from the surrounding communities on Delmarva. On Tuesday they opened their gates to local reporters, legislators, and community leaders for a special tour. This effort of transparency is in response to the closing of Baltimore City Jail on July 31st.
Secretary of the Department of Public Safety at Correctional Services, Stephen Moyer says, “I’ve been traveling all around the entire state going into all the prisons and inviting local media and local legislators to see what we do here.”
The warden led the group through the facility showing prison cells, day facilities, and the locations where inmates participate in various programs. Some of the programs include career training, gardening, training dogs for disabled veterans, and carpentry. These programs are set to end the revolving door effect of inmates being released and becoming repeated offenders.
Three years ago the rate of offenders re-entering prison in Maryland was 48% and has decreased to 40.5%.
One location that stood out was the parade float shop. Inmates have built multiple award winning floats and have even decided to pull out of competitions to give their competitors an opportunity to win as well.
Lieutenant Debra Flockerzy the shop manager says, “I see it instill a sense of pride, teamwork, and that’s something that I really tried to discuss with the guys that work for me because this is considered a specialized assignment so not just anyone can come work here.”
The float the inmates are currently working on is for the Crab Derby Parade in Crisfield. People can see the completed float on Memorial Day for the Crisfield Parade.