Maryland Correctional Officer Gets More Than 4 Years For Racketeering Conspiracy

On August 27, 2018, it was announced that 28-year-old Rachelle Hankerson of Salisbury, Maryland had been sentenced to 52 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The sentencing is related to a racketeering conspiracy operated at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland as well as for deprivation of rights under color of law for participating in the stabbing of an inmate. Court documents explain that the Eastern Correctional Institution, ECI, is the largest state prison in Maryland. It has been in operation since 1987.

Hankerson was a Correctional Officer at the prison during the conspiracy. Hankerson admitted to accepting payments from facilitators and inmates to smuggle contraband into the prison. She charged at least $500 per package of contraband smuggled into the prison. She also admitted to being approached by a co-defendant, who happened to be a member of the Bloods gang. She asked the inmate to confront another inmate, DS, with whom she had a verbal dispute.

Twice, Hankerson allowed the co-defendant onto the same tier where DS was housed. On the second occasion, the co-defendant entered DS’s cell and stabbed him multiple times. Another inmate alerted Hankerson. Instead of notifying authorities, she left the area. Later, she told an inmate to provide a false story that she had not been seen on the tier when the attack occurred. Law enforcement managed to intercept several calls in which Hankerson and others working with her discussed contraband, arranging meetings with correctional officers and accepting payment for the contraband.

80 defendants have been charged in the case. 77 have been convicted. Further details can be found here.

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