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From Prison to Movie Set?


The Maryland House of Correction in Jessup has been shuttered since only Monday, but there's already lots of talk about what to do with the notorious maximum-security prison. One idea making the rounds in the O'Malley administration: market it to moviemakers as a setting for films with prison scenes.

At an event marking the prison's closing, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) described the antiquated, 129-year-old prison as something that looked like it came from a 1940s James Cagney movie.

Within hours, a senior staff member to the governor had e-mailed David Edgerley, secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development, whose agency's tasks include promoting Maryland as a filmmaking destination.

Edgerley, who was officially sworn in yesterday, said he thought the idea of shopping the facility to filmmakers had merit. "Conceptually, it's an asset," Edgerley said of the prison, where 6-by-9-foot cells are stacked three stories high in one wing.

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said that no decisions have been made about what to do with the building but that using it for movies "is certainly something that could be considered."

John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  March 21, 2007; 6:31 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Hi John - have you heard anything about HB 399 - a bill that would give counties the ability to bypass property tax caps? I just heard about this, and am surprised it hasn't received more coverage. Any info you can provide would be great!

Posted by: jj | March 21, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Great idea to clean up the prison & then make it available for filming. It's not only a good use of facility; it will mean that films shot on location will employ all the people (local talent, drivers, film artists, caterers, etc.) who are needed on a film set.

Posted by: local actress | March 21, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Better would be to empty the state capitol and governor*s mansion and offer them as sets for movies about political corruption and ineptitude.

Posted by: gitarre | March 21, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Why not offer the land to the Federal Government at a premium? The National Security Agency is located directly across the street and could certainly use the land. But who in the Maryland Democratic Party is really serious about national security anyway? It's all political fodder for most.

Posted by: BG from PG | March 21, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"But who in the Maryland Democratic Party is really serious about national security anyway? It's all political fodder for most."

If the NSA really wanted the land, they would take the initiative to try and get it. You're turning this into a lame reason to point fingers over national security, when we all know that people in each party to blame.

Posted by: Courtesy Flush | March 21, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Courtesy Flush, please don't give BG and the rest of his troll friends on this blog the decency of a response.

His post has nothing to do with national security or anything other topics that he comments to.

He just doesn't like Democrats, and he happens to live in a State where the vast majority of the people disagree with him and have elected a majority Democratic legislative body and Governor.

This makes him very sad. He cries every day that the majority of Marylanders disagree with him.

So he will find every excuse to blame Democrats for everything he doesn't like, whether it is bad weather or earthquakes or space alien invasions.

Posted by: mdhawk | March 21, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

this will totally wipe out any notion that O'Malley is interested in the superficial and appearences over substance. Courting movie stars.... Perfect. He can have Paris Hilton over for policy discussions.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

How many millions of dollars would it take to maintain a facility for one or two film contracts per decade? What a lame idea, spending tax dollars to hold on to a facility such as this.

I've got a better idea. Why don't they bulldoze it, make it a protester gathering spot where they can charge admission and Cindy Sheehan, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins can shout through megaphones across the road at the NSA for "illegally" listening into phone conversations? Then, at least, it would make fiscal sense.

Posted by: BG from PG | March 21, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Editorial removal of off-topic blog advertisement requested.

Posted by: Che flusher | March 22, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

How about using it as a new example of Smart Growth? It is right next to BWI, MARC train tracks, and NSA, which is going to grow under BRAC, so why not make it a transportation hub, with a MARC station, buses, possible extensions of Light Rail and eventually (DC) Metro and put mixed use development around it, including commercial, office space and residential, getting some cars off the road and lessening the infrastructure impact of the BRAC surge that everyone wanted and now complains about?

No, that would make too much sense? Let's shoot one or two movies a year on it and minimize the financial impact of that business activity with large tax breaks. Maybe we could see Brangelina, or at least the guys from the Wire. Much more sexy!

Posted by: SmartGrowth | March 22, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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