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Volunteer guards keep things running smoothly at jail despite record snow

A year after Prince George's jail officials were chagrined by a coordinated jailbreak on Super Bowl Sunday, dozens of guards stepped up to the challenges of running the Upper Marlboro detention facility during a historic, double-barrelled snowstorm, part of which occurred Super Bowl weekend.

On Saturday, as one of the biggest snowstorms on record paralyzed much of the Washington area, Prince George's jail guards organized themselves to make sure the jail was adequately staffed. Each night, through Wednesday,15 or so guards slept at the jail to cover for other jail officers who could not get to the facility because of the snowstorms that hit last weekend and again Tuesday night and much of Wednesday.

The officers slept on cots in jail classrooms. Some officers spent more than one night at the jail; at least one guard spent five nights at the facility, according to a jail employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. The officers who spent the night volunteered to do so, the employee said. The whole thing was organized by jail supervisors.

In addition, jail officers with four-wheel drive vehicles provided rides to and from the jail to guards who do not have such vehicles, and otherwise would have been snowbound at home.

The volunteerism worked, the employee said. There were no major incidents at the jail during the snow storms, the employee said.

Last year, at least eight inmates simulataneously broke out of their cells and attacked jail guards. The uprising was quickly quelled without serious injury to guards or inmates. Some of the inmates were angered that they had not been allowed to watch the Super Bowl, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals.

Despite last year's troubles, inmates this year were allowed to watch the New Orleans Saints defeat the Indianapolis Colts in this year's big game. There were no incidents.

-- Ruben Castaneda

By Washington Post editors  |  February 11, 2010; 3:58 PM ET
Categories:  Pr. George's , Prison Beat , Ruben Castaneda  
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Kudos to the guards.

Thumbs down to the jail...Why the hell should these animals be allowed to watch the superbowl or be otherwise entertained for pleasure? It isn't how we want our tax dollars spent. Watch something educational - perhaps the National Geographic Channel.

Posted by: joeygish | February 12, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

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