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Message from the Director

Gail M. Watts, Director of Corrections
Gail M. Watts, Director

Welcome to the Baltimore County Department of Corrections website. This website is designed to answer the most frequently asked questions, and it provides a description of our programs and services. I trust that you will find the information helpful and informative.

Our professional and dedicated staff operates a secure, safe and clean facility, promoting public, staff and inmate safety. The department offers a myriad of programs to the inmates confined in the jail and alternative programs in lieu of incarceration to offenders who are referred by the courts. We are committed to serving the citizens of Baltimore County and encourage you to contact the department if you need further assistance.

Mission Statement

  • The mission for the Department of Corrections is to provide for public safety by confining pretrial detainees and sentenced offenders in a clean, safe and secure detention facility, to ensure appearances at court, to provide self improvement opportunities and to offer alternatives to incarceration.
  • We are committed to providing professional growth of staff through training opportunities within the department and in the correctional community. This will enable staff to be partners in maintaining a high quality professional work-site that is safe for staff and inmates. 


  • The Department of Corrections is audited and certified as required by the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards.
  • Newly hired correctional staff receives training and certification from the Baltimore County Department of Corrections Entrance Level Training Academy. This academy is certified by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions.
  • Correctional staff receives yearly in-service training on topics such as security functions, firearms, defensive tactics, first aid and CPR/AED.
  • The Department of Corrections operates a fully trained and highly qualified Emergency Response Team (ERT). These ERT members are specially trained to respond to emergencies inside and outside the facility.

History of the Department of Corrections

Photo of the Historical wardens house.

The modern Department of Corrections was established by the County Council in 1993. Since the beginning of the County, the government has been responsible for safe incarceration of some citizens.

In 1854, the first Baltimore County Jail was built. Constructed of stone, the facility had no plumbing and was built like a fortress. The front of the facility was the warden’s residence where the warden and his family lived. This facility is on the Register of National Historic Sites and is located on the corner of Bosley Avenue and Towsontown Boulevard.

Photo of the second Baltimore County jail.

On the same location stood the second Baltimore County Jail, which was built in 1955. Originally the building was intended to be an office building for the county. However, based on the need to provide additional inmate housing, it was converted into a jail during construction. In 1975, the first annex was constructed. This annex was at the time state-of-the-art with electronically activated doors, and it held approximately 175 inmates.

In the late 1970s, a rise in the inmate population developed as the county grew. Plans were made for the new construction of the Baltimore County Detention Center on Kenilworth Drive. The opening of this facility in 1982 intended to bring about the closing of the 1955 building; however, a swelling inmate population forced the reopening of the old jail.

Photo of the Baltimore County Detention Center on Kenilworth Drive.

This growing population also meant expansion in the facility’s Work Release Program. The County purchased several industrial trailers to house Work Release inmates. This was intended as a short-term solution (as the planning of the second annex had already begun). However, with the rising inmate population this temporary solution turned into a long-term commitment.

Photo of the $77 million dollar state-of-the-art building.

In order to remain constitutionally appropriate, an annex was added in 1994 adding much needed recreational areas and an enlarged kitchen. This expansion also allowed for the more humane housing of inmates with psychological issues.

The new $77 million state-of-the-art building opened May 5, 2006. This facility was constructed to meet modern correctional standards, and it can house approximately 1500 plus inmates. The consolidation of correctional resources on one site allows the department to maximize efficiencies in service delivery for inmates and safety. Housing unit design allows for the secure housing of inmates with various security levels. The new institution enhances safeguarding our communities by increasing our ability to secure lawbreakers safely in an efficient structure.

Revised June 26, 2018         


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