Senate advances bill to help stop jail contraband

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would allow officials to suspend correctional officers without pay when charged with misdemeanor contraband violations.

The Senate advanced the measure on Thursday after rejecting an amendment in a close vote that would have included alcoholic beverages as contraband that could get a correctional officer suspended without pay upon being charged.

The Senate measure covers contraband such as drugs, cellphones and accessories for cellphones like chargers.

The measure is part of a response by Maryland lawmakers this session to address a major contraband scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Last year, federal prosecutors indicted 44 people, including 27 correctional officers, for conspiring to bring contraband cellphones and drugs into the state-run facility.

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