Detention Center - 410-313-5200

Howard County’s original jail, in Ellicott City, opened in 1878. The Emory Street Jail was built to accommodate 12 inmates. In 1975, the Division of Corrections was established under former County Executive Edward Cochran. Gerald H. McClellan was appointed as the division’s first Director of Corrections. Several years later, the Division of Corrections was established as a Department.

Due to overcrowding conditions and an antiquated facility, the Department of Corrections sought and received funding for the construction of a new Detention Center. The Howard County Detention Center, in Jessup, opened in 1983 with a rated capacity of 108 inmates and actually housed 63 inmates at opening; within five years, the inmate population had greatly exceeded its rated capacity. The Department of Corrections again sought and obtained funding for the expansion of the Detention Center. The expansion was completed in 1994 with a rated capacity of 361 inmates.  Today the Detention Center has a maximum capacity of 474, and a rated operating capacity of 398 inmates.
The facility houses pre-trial offenders, as well as inmates sentenced up to 18 months.

The Department also by contract houses detainees in the custody of the  federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.  It is the policy of the Howard County Department of Corrections to only accept detainees from ICE who are criminally