New Prison Memorial Honors Law Enforcement

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CUMBERLAND, MD - North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland had a special event to honor veterans, prison staff and law enforcement and helping to recognize these officers were the inmates themselves.

All gave some, some gave all: It's a reminder of the sacrifice not just of veterans, but also of those who work in corrections.

"Unfortunately, some die in service in the line of duty," says warden Bobby Shearin. "It's rare in this state, but it has happened and you have to recognize those people who gave it all."

Staff at North Branch unveiled a memorial wall to recognize those who work in law enforcement and the military. Each brick was salvaged and cleaned by the inmates.

"That fact that the inmates are trying to give something back to the community, I think that's commendable," says First Sgt. H.B. Martz, assistant commander of the Cumberland barrack.

While the memorial honors those who helped convict them of their crimes, many want to give back.

One inmate created a work of art for the occasion. Both North Branch and Western have art programs so inmates can share their talents while incarcerated.

"You have to be cooperative as much as possible, and I really don't find problems with it," says inmate James Harrison of the prison community. "It has to be."

The memorial honors correctional officers, police and fire, as well as veterans. The warden says they're working on starting a veterans' group for the prison's inmates.

"We have a few veterans, inmates, that we're trying to get a veterans' organization going to get them plugged in to some resources," says Shearin.

It was a day to remember those lost and also to celebrate a partnership.

"It's for the whole staff," he says. "For law enforcement, fire and rescue, we all work together. They help us, we help them sometimes but it's one big family that's the big thing."

The bricks used for the wall were salvaged and cleaned by an inmate crew as part of the prison's public safety works program.