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.
The Department opened the Central Booking Facility in March 2005. At that time, the responsibility for booking arrestees transferred from the Police Department to the Department of Corrections.
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 to include the Howard County Police Department, The Maryland State Police, The Department of Natural Resources Police Department, the Howard County Sheriff’s Department and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police. All arrestees are searched, fingerprinted, photographed and processed prior to being seen by a District Court Commissioner for an initial hearing.
In 2006, 4,334 adult arrestees were processed in the County. All arrestees are fingerprinted using live scan technology. These images are sent electronically to the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), where the fingerprints are used to identify the arrestee. The arrestee’s photograph is captured using digital technology and stored for identification purposes.
The Central Booking Facility is designed with a separate District Court Commissioner’s Office attached. The Booking Facility has sections to separately accommodate men and women arrestees that include both cells and holding areas. There are two (2) suicide precaution cells for arrestees. Additional rooms include a control center, interview room, photograph and fingerprint area, biographical information area, work area, property area, decontamination area, search area, supervisor’s office, bathrooms, computer server room, employee break area and initial hearing rooms.
Central Booking can be contacted by phone at 410-313-5300.
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 involved. This includes:
1. Those convicted of crimes.
2. Those charged with jailable offenses.
3. Those who are members of criminal gangs.
4. Those who are deported criminal felons who have illegally reentered the U.S.