prison

Virginia State Police

Charles Smith has been sentenced to 15 year in prison for string of arson fires that hit Accomack County in 2012 and 2013.

He had pled guilty to 65 counts of arson late last year and had testified against his ex-fiance Tonya Bundick.

She has entered an Alford plea to 61 counts for the string of blazes.

Bundick will be serving 17 and a-half years in prison for the crime.

The vast majority of the fires were set in Accomack County but there were no injuries from the blazes.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Bills giving law-breakers a chance to get back on their feet are making progress in the Maryland General Assembly - and with bipartisan support.

The legislation ranges from removing certain mandatory minimum sentences to restoring voting rights to ex-offenders once they leave prison.

Even Gov. Larry Hogan has publicly backed one bill that would shield certain non-violent offenses from the public eye.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - New Castle County officials are launching a new initiative to warn people about the dangers of heroin.

The campaign, to be discussed at a news conference Thursday, is aimed at teenagers and at making suburban, middle class families aware that heroin use is happening in their communities as well as in the inner city.

County Executive Tom Gordon and County Police Chief Col. E.M. Setting were among the officials scheduled to be on hand to discuss the effort.

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Governor Larry Hogan outlined his plan to fight the increasing number of heroin overdose deaths.

Hogan’s concern is also personal with the death of his own cousin to a heroin overdose a few years ago.

The Republican governor will be setting up a council and a separate special taskforce to deal with the problem.

They are to meet regularly and get advice from educators, families and others in the community.

from Maureen McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - If prosecutors get their way, former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell could become the first modern-day governor's spouse sent to prison for felonies she was convicted of committing while she held the mostly ceremonial position.

McDonnell will be sentenced for public corruption Friday in federal court in Richmond. Prosecutors have recommended an 18-month sentence - six months less than former Gov. Bob McDonnell got last month when he was convicted. Maureen McDonnell's attorneys requested probation and 4,000 hours of community service.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A Maryland man who recently returned home after spending five years in a Cuban prison will be in the audience for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

Alan Gross and his wife, Judy, are among 22 people the White House invited to attend Tuesday night's speech.

It's become tradition for presidents to invite special guests whose stories highlight an issue or public policy. They sit with the first lady.

This year's group also includes astronaut Scott Kelly, the president and CEO of CVS Health and eight people who wrote letters to Obama.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State attorneys representing two former Delaware prison administrators plan to appeal an adverse court ruling involving a 2004 inmate suicide to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A court filing Tuesday indicates that the state will ask the high court to review a federal appeals court's 2-to-1 decision last month saying retired prison commissioner Stan Taylor and prison warden Raphael Williams are not immune from being sued by the family of Christopher Barkes.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A lawyer for the state has asked a federal appeals court to approve Virginia's policy of automatically holding death row inmates in solitary confinement.

The Virginia Department of Corrections is appealing a judge's ruling that automatic around-the-clock isolation violates death row inmates' due process rights.

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CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is proposing a third state prison near Cumberland.

The Cumberland Times-News reported Monday that Secretary Gregg Hershberger outlined the $15 million project in an email to local state legislators.

Hershberger says the 140-bed, minimum-security facility would be built between North Branch Correctional Institution and Western Correctional Institution in Crespatown, south of Cumberland. Each of those maximum-security prisons houses more than 1,300 inmates.

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CRESAPTOWN, Md. (AP) - The Maryland state workers union says it has formed a committee to suggest security improvements at the maximum-security North Branch Correctional Institution.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Tuesday that a committee of nine workers will work with the prison warden and the state prison agency to develop recommendations for improving safety at the prison near Cumberland.

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Maryland lawmakers joined union officials wanting to know about the stabbing of a correctional officer in the Western part of the state.

Prison officials reportedly knew of a threat against the guard but did not warn him.

State Senator James “Ed” Degrange, chair of the public safety subcommittee, and Delegate Curt Anderson, chair of the House criminal justice subcommittee, said they want to know who allowed the officer at the North Branch Correctional Institution to go unwarned.

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An unnamed detained was found hanged in his cell at the Wicomico County Detention Center Monday afternoon.

He was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center after the apparently self-inflicted wounds.

Meanwhile, the Wicomico Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation with Detective Sgt. David Owens telling the Salisbury Daily Times that authorities want to make sure that there was assistance by anyone else in the incident.

He also said that he does not believe any factors besides being in jail led to the inmate’s apparent suicide attempt.

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