Robert L. Green, director of the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, was chosen by Gov. Larry Hogan Monday to be the secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Green, hired by Montgomery County in December 2000 as a corrections division chief, was appointed director in 2015, responsible for a budget of more than $67 million and an inmate population of more than 2,000. The county department also provides pretrial supervision, community corrections and detention services.
“I take great pride having begun my career as a correctional officer in our state in 1985,” Green said in a statement from the governor’s office. “I am committed to building upon Governor Hogan’s record of rooting out corruption in our state’s prison system. It is an honor to be appointed by the governor to this position and continue to proudly serve my state and my profession.”
Hogan noted Green’s 34 years of public service as a factor in making his selection. Green worked in the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office as the corrections bureau chief before moving to Montgomery County.
“He brings a tremendous wealth of experience to the department, and Marylanders can trust he will prioritize the safety of all who come into contact with our corrections system – both for our inmate population and our correctional officers,” the governor wrote.
County Executive Marc Elrich said Green was “one of the best minds on prison reform.”
“His work to improve the quality of life, education, care, and security of the inmate population of the county’s correctional system, and the staff that manage it, has set a nationally recognized standard in the effort to reduce recidivism. When men and women return to society better prepared for meaningful employment, the benefits extend beyond their own lives. They have the potential to rejoin society as positive, engaged, contributing members of their communities and workplaces. Rob will be a huge contribution to the State,” Elrich said in a statement.
The Maryland corrections system includes more than a dozen prisons and other detention centers and pre-release facilities.
Prison corruption allegations have been an issue for years in Maryland. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors announced indictments alleging guards, employees and contractors at one of the state’s largest prisons in Howard County smuggled drugs and other contraband into the cellblocks for prisoners.
Green replaces acting secretary Mike Zeigler, who took over the position last month. His last day with Montgomery County government will be May 12, and he will be replaced by Angela Talley, who will serve as acting director until a permanent replacement is appointed.
Council member Hans Riemer said Monday that with Green’s departure coming just after the resignation of Police Chief Tom Manger, he worries about the loss of institutional knowledge from the county’s law enforcement agencies.
“We’ve lost our most effective public safety officials,” he said.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.email@example.com