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Md. Inmate Homicides Spiked in 2012

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(Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (CBSDC/AP)— Maryland’s prison agency is reporting a spike in inmate-on-inmate homicides.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services says there were seven such deaths last year. That compares with an average of about four per year since 2001.

Spokesman Rick Binetti says the killings were isolated incidents and don’t reflect a drop in security.

He says the department’s focus on reducing gang violence has helped cut the number of serious assaults by inmates on both staff members and other prisoners.

Binetti says those reductions also reflect increased information-sharing among state prison managers and local law enforcement agencies.

He says overall inmate deaths, including suicides, are also down.

Binetti says “the institutions have never been safer.”

Maryland’s correctional facilities are located in Cumberland, Hagerstown, Eldersburg, Jessup, Charlotte Hall, Baltimore, Church Hill, Quantico and Westover.

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(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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