Our Mission

Executive Ball Speaks on Correctional Officers Week



The Howard County Department of Corrections protects the public by providing a safe environment for staff and inmates, where programs prepare inmates for return to the community as law-abiding citizens.


Message from the Director

The Department of Corrections is committed to protecting the citizens of Howard County by providing a secure, safe, and humane detention facility.  The Department is committed to adhering to the American Correctional Association and the State of Maryland – Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards.  An important strategy for community safety is addressing the program needs of those in our custody prior to their return to the community.  Education, health/mental health care, substance use disorder counseling, medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders, anger management, housing, employment, and transition counseling are offered both pre and post-release.


The Howard County Department of Corrections staff is motivated and trained employees who set and maintain high professional standards.

Information & Resources


Howard County Corrections History


Howard County’s original jail, in Ellicott City, opened in 1878 and was built to accommodate 12 inmates. In 1975, the Division of Corrections was established. 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. The new facility opened with 63 inmates; 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.

In March 2005 the responsibility for booking arrestees was transferred from the Police Department to the Department of Corrections with the opening of the Central Booking Facility.

The Howard County Department of Corrections staff is motivated and trained employees who set and maintain a high professional standard. Because of their dedication and commitment to their profession and community, the Howard County Department of Corrections has maintained 100% compliance with the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards since its inception in 1980. The correctional staff has numerous responsibilities and opportunities for advancement in their career. As correctional professionals at the Howard County Department of Corrections, staff can take pride in knowing that they contribute significantly to operating a department that is an integral part of the administration of justice and ensuring public safety in Howard County.


Community Service Program


If you have been court ordered to the community service program, YOU MUST BRING WITH YOU:

  • COURT REFERRAL PAPERS (Defendant Trial Summary or Probation Order or State’s Attorney’s Referral)

This form is not to be used for transfers to another jurisdiction.  Transfers must be handled through the Community Service Program’s Office in Howard County at the Serenity Center.

Walk in hours:  Monday-Friday 9:00 am- 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The manager of the Community Services Program, Chip Thomas can be reached by phone at (410) 884-6088


Program Information


Click below to see detailed information regarding our programs, including:

  • Addiction Program and Co-occuring Mental Health Treatment and Referral
  • Medication Assisted Treatment Changes
  • Religious Services
  • Medication Assisted Treatment Grant from GOCCP
  • Strengthening Families Program
  • Reentry Mediation
  • Reentry Case Management Services
  • Resource Center (Library)
  • SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment)
  • Project LEEP (Life Skills Education Employment Program)
  • Maryland Community Criminal Justice Treatment Program
  • Safe Food Handling Certification
  • Thinking for a Change
  • GED - Adult Education Services
  • Weekend Detention
  • Getting Ahead
  • Partnerships for Employment Training
  • "Your Job, Your Money" (Job Readiness and Financial Literacy)
  • Literacy Tutoring Program
  • Reentry House

Prison Rape Elimination Act


The Howard County Department of Corrections has a zero tolerance for sexual abuse.  No one has the right to pressure inmates to engage in sexual acts.  Inmates do not have to tolerate sexual assault or pressure to engage in unwanted sexual behavior.  The policies of the Department of Corrections follow the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) guidelines.

An inmate should report any incidents of sexual abuse to a staff member immediately.  A sexual assault hotline is also available to assist inmates who wish to report incidents of sexual abuse.  The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The hotline is operated by a victim advocacy organization that provides services to sexual assault victims.

The Howard County Police will investigate any allegations of sexual contact or assault involving staff or inmates at the Howard County Department of Corrections. Also, medical attention and counseling will be made available.

Any member of the public may also report any incidents to an HCDC staff member immediately, or may call directly to the outside victim advocacy organization which will follow-up.

Family/friends may call the Shift Leader on 410-313-5200 (press “0”)


Howard County Sexual Assault (Hopeworks)
24 hour hotline


Facility Information


The Department of Corrections is responsible for the operation of the Howard County Detention Center, the Central Booking Facility, and the Community Service Program and is charged with providing a safe and humane environment to those incarcerated, and under supervision. This is accomplished by good security and control of the inmates, meaningful treatment programs and assisting inmates with their reintegration back into the community.

The staff of the Department of Corrections and partnering agencies are dedicated professionals who, along with many committed volunteers, strive to make the Department one of the best correctional agencies in the State of Maryland. The Department has established a practice of implementing “best practices” in the corrections profession. Also, the Department is utilizing evidence based programming strategies in preparing offenders for return to our community.


Visitor Information


Click below to view information about:

  • Visiting schedule
  • the Commissary
  • Bond release information
  • Other inmate information

Policies and Procedures


Click below to see a list of our official policies and procedure documentation.


Publications and Additional Resources


View and download annual reports and audits and view additional resources related to the criminal justice system


Career Opportunities



The Howard County Detention Center provides a secure facility for incarcerating adults legally confined in Howard County, including pre-trial, pre-sentenced, and sentenced adult male and female offenders. The Howard County Department of Corrections has a staffing level of 153 employees with a rated capacity of 475. Positions available include Correctional Officers, Corrections Specialists, and Support Staff. For employment opportunities open at this time click here or visit Employment Opportunities under Human Resource website. The phone number to Human Resource is 410-313-2033. The Human Resource office is available Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, except County's approved holidays.

The Central Booking Facility is responsible for the processing of all incoming adult arrestees and juvenile arrestees waived to adult jurisdiction in Howard County from various police agencies.



Security and Control: It is the primary responsibility of the Howard County Department of Corrections to provide for the supervision, safety, and control of inmates, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Department staffs three, eight-hour shifts each day with a Correctional Captain supervising each shift. Members of the security staff supervise and control inmates, process the intake and release of inmates, conduct rounds, counts, and searches, supervise inmate movement, monitor visits, and respond to all emergencies within the facility.

Training: Training is an ongoing process that enables employees to develop and maintain the skills necessary to perform their duties. All newly hired Correctional Officers attend mandatory entry-level training at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Academy. Correctional staff receives a minimum of 18 hours of in-service training annually.

Honor Guard: This unit represents the department at various functions such as award ceremonies, graduations, and the Fallen Heroes Ceremony.

SERT (Special Emergency Response Team): Specially trained personnel who respond to emergency situations.


Program Services:

Administrative Records Section: Employees prepare the department’s operating budget, monitor expenditures, procure and remit payment for all purchases necessary to operate the Department, collect revenues, prepare payroll, maintain inmate work release accounting, compute inmate release dates, maintain inactive inmate records, and administer the computer network and the automated corrections management system.

Classification: The Classification Section interviews and screens newly incarcerated inmates for appropriate housing assignments, assist inmates with special needs and/or problems, and evaluate and refer inmates for special program placement.

Community-Based Programs: The Detention Center operates a Work Release Program. This program provides a transition into the workforce for inmates convicted of non-violent offenses in preparation for their eventual release from confinement.


For a detailed description of career opportunities click here.


Margaret Chippendale
Margaret M. Chippendale
Director, Howard County Department of Corrections

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