“If I had a son he would look like Tavon White”– (BHO)
allegedly impregnated four of his guards while running a criminal empire fromÂ prison
It only happened because guards are not paid enough:
A shocking indictment of 13 Baltimore prison guards last week is an extreme example of what happens when people on the “lowest rung” of the criminal justice career ladder succumb to corruption.
The Baltimore case is the most disturbing case of prison guard corruption in recent memory. Guards allegedly snuck cellphones and other contraband to Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) prison gangsters and gave them free rein over their own prison. BGF leader Tavon White also allegedly managed to impregnate four guards, two of whom got tattoos with his name.
The BGF leaderhsip allegedly instructed its new recruits to manipulate insecure female guards to help them run their criminal enterprise from jail,Â the Baltimore Sun reports.
The Baltimore gang’s tactics are emerging as more court documents are filed in aÂ massive racketeering caseÂ accusing 13 female corrections officers of colluding with seven male inmates and several other gangsters on the outside.
Corrections officers allegedly smuggled BGF members contraband such as cellphones, which are essential to carrying out a criminal enterprise from behind bars. Many of the guards are also accusedÂ of being literally “in bed”Â with the BGF inmates.
Four of the officers became pregnant withÂ prison gang leader Tavon White’sÂ baby, and two got tattooed with the gang leader’s name.
“White allegedly had long-term sexual relationships inside BCDC with four correctional officers â€” Jennifer Owens, Katera Stevenson, Chania Brooks, and Tiffany Linder â€” impregnating each of the four officers at least once,” the FBI said in a release. “Owens had ‘Tavon’ tattooed on her neck and Stevenson had ‘Tavon’ tattooed on her wrist.
“White allegedly gave Owens a diamond ring and provided luxury automobiles to Owens, Stevenson, and Brooks.”
One of the guards, though it is unclear which one, allegedly had two children by White, raising his total number of possible prison babies to five.
An affidavit in the case says BGF recruits were specifically told to target female corrections officers with “low self-esteem, insecurities, and certain physical attributes,” according to the Baltimore Sun. The idea was that these officers could be easily corrupted.
While most guards aren’t in bed with inmates, they do face tough and dangerous jobs with little compensation, recognition, or hope for advancement. Poor pay and low hiring standards in America’s prisons make guards more susceptible to corruption than others in the justice system, experts told Business Insider.
Guards make significantly less money than police officers and generally have significantly less training. (In Maryland, where the BGF thrives, corrections officers get six weeks of training compared to six months for police.) Many go into corrections as a last resort.
“It’s been referred to as the bottom rung in the career ladder in criminal justice. This is considered dirty work,” criminal justice professor Chris Menton tells us.
It’s been referred to as the bottom rung in the career ladder in criminal justice. This is considered dirty work
“The people who end up in these jobs are people who couldn’t get a job as a police officer, couldn’t get through law school, couldn’t get a job as a federal agent,” adds Menton, who actually worked as a corrections officer himself because he couldn’t find work after college.
Once they get into this line of work, corrections officers get little recognition â€” unlike police officers, who are out on the street and dealing with the public every day.
“Corrections in general is the ugly stepchild of the justice system,” says Bruce Bayley, a criminal justice professor at Weber State University and former correctional officer. “Out of site out of mind.”
It’s not surprising that unsophisticated workers who aren’t respected might take bribes.
Corrections officers have also been indicted for allegedly taking bribes in Washington D.C., Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, and Maryland, to name a few places. In February, 17 former corrections officers were indicted in Texas for bringing contraband to inmates to help them commit crimes from behind prison walls.
One of those corrections officers in Texas, 38-year-old Jaime Jorge Garza, reportedly told a court that he got pushed around a lot as a guard and that he was glad he finally got caught smuggling contraband.
Most of America’s prison guards are unarmed, and they are more outnumbered than ever because of state budget shortages.
“Every state and municipality in the country has cut its officer staffing,” criminal justice expert Martin Horn told us. “I firmly believe that the result is officers are terrified. One way of keeping themselves safe is aligning with the inmates.”