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On Friday, the county executive of Prince George’s County, Maryland, officially announced its participation in Vera DC’s Corrections Support and Accountability Project (CSAP). “Prince George’s County government is honored to be in partnership with the Vera Institute,” said County Executive Jack B. Johnson. “It is a vital resource for the benefit of developing oversight and accountability mechanisms for policymakers, elected officials, and constituency groups across the country.”

The next day, the Washington Post’s Ruben Castaneda, who has written a series of articles critical of the Prince George’s County jail, published a story about the partnership. The article recounted the string of challenges faced by the department and described one of the primary purposes of the project: to help the department develop a model for independent oversight of the Upper Marlboro facility. Mary Lou McDonough, interim director of corrections, related the benefits that the department hopes to realize through the collaboration: strengthened ties between the community and jail officials and increased transparency of jail operations. 

Vera’s director, Michael Jacobson, praised Prince George’s County, saying, “Prince George’s County should be commended for its commitment to pursuing good government and reform,” noting that “Vera has a long history of helping government officials see measurable improvements in corrections-related polices and practices.”

As a member of the CSAP team, I couldn’t be more excited to begin this partnership in earnest.