County Jail Joins Information Sharing Project

SNOW HILL – Worcester County will join the list of counties participating in a project aimed at providing criminal justice officials with more information on inmates.

On Wednesday, the Worcester County Commissioners approved a request from Warden Donna Bounds to participate in the Justice Information Sharing Solutions Project sponsored by the Governor’s Coordinating Offices. The project allows participating jurisdictions to share inmate information when an individual is transferred from one agency to another.

“It would allow the exchange of information of inmates and detainees who are transferred from counties throughout the state to Worcester County and vice versa.,” Bounds said.

She said that by participating in the project, the Worcester County Jail would have access to relevant information regarding inmates coming to the county. Through a “Criminal Justice Dashboard,” officials would have access to real time data regarding inmates. Bounds said the data would include alerts in cases where inmates had shown assaultive behavior, for example, or suicidal risk.

“A lot of times when they come in we don’t have a background from the other facility unless they’re so kind as to send a report or make a phone call,” she said, “but sometimes a phone call doesn’t reach the exact people that it needs to.”

She said recently, an inmate who’d tried to instigate a riot at a Wicomico County facility had been transferred to Worcester County. The Criminal Justice Dashboard would have advised the Worcester County Jail of that inmate’s past behavior.

“If you have a good idea of who you’re getting, once they get on site you’re able to deal with them, have a conversation with them,” Bounds said. “Give them … information about the Worcester County Jail and what it’s about and what is accepted and what is not accepted. Everybody comes in with a clean slate and hopefully will have a smooth transition until their transfer out or release.”

Bounds said there were eight counties — Allegany, Calvert, Cecil, Howard, Kent, St. Mary’s, Washington and Wicomico — that had committed to the initiative so far. She said Worcester County often received transfers from Wicomico County and Howard County so she was pleased to see they were participating.

“It would be a valuable piece of information to have if there’s any institutional behavior issues,” she said. “It would assist our classification department tremendously.”

Commissioner Bud Church made a motion to approve Worcester County’s participation in the initiative. It was approved unanimously.

“I think it’ll benefit you and the jail,” Church said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.