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Bill to alter CO polygraph test requirements stalls in Md. Senate

The proposed bill is aimed at reducing the number of CO vacancies across the state

By Corrections1 Staff

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A bill that would loosen polygraph test requirements for correctional officer recruits has stalled in the Maryland Senate as debate continues on the exact modifications intended to increase hiring.

Some lawmakers have expressed concerns about the proposed bill which would remove the lie-detector test as a requirement to being hired as a CO. It would, however, allow officials to still require the test or an in-depth background check, reports The Herald Mail.

While the bill made it through committee hearings, one member asked to postpone the vote, expressing concerns with the language.

Maryland currently has a 20 percent vacancy rate among COs. The proposed bill is aimed at reducing that number. The Herald Mail reports that union leaders have cited the polygraph test as “unreliable” and part of the problem in attempting to hire.

“They have been a barrier instead of a screen,” said Sue Esty, legislative director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that represents Maryland’s correctional officers.

The state amended CO hiring requirements to include the polygraph test after a series of scandals at the Baltimore City Detention Center.