The Post's Charles Lane has an interesting story of how AFSCME lobbied for, and won, passage of the "Correctional Officer's Bill of Rights," which greatly hindered disciplining rogue corrections officers. The results were not unpredictable.
Advertised as much-needed procedural protection against unfair accusations of brutality, COBR established elaborate rules — including a guaranteed appeal hearing in front of a three-member board of fellow officers — for correctional officers suspected of wrongdoing. The bill says that prison managers can’t even “threaten” prosecution, transfer, dismissal or disciplinary action during questioning.
It passed the House of Delegates unanimously and the Senate 44 to 2. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed it into law on May 4, 2010.
In the union’s view, prison administrators had “pulled the trigger too quickly” on discipline in the past, as AFSCME spokesman Jeff Pittman put it.
But according to an FBI special agent’s affidavit attached to the Baltimore indictment, COBR has all but disarmed managers at the Baltimore jail. Discipline “has proven to be very difficult,” the agent wrote, and “the internal review process set up by COBR is ineffective as a deterrent to [correctional officers] smuggling contraband or getting sexually involved with BGF gang members.”