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Former ECI prison guard sentenced to 4 years for role in contraband conspiracy

Posted at 12:52 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 12:52:39-04

A former guard at an Eastern Shore state prison was sentenced to more than four years in prison for her role in a conspiracy racketeering scheme, the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland said Monday.

Correctional Officer Rachelle Hankerson, of Salisbury, Md. received a 52-month prison sentence followed by three years supervised release for her role in the conspiracy and for "deprivation of rights under color of law for participating in the stabbing of an inmate," a release from the US Attorney's office said. Hankerson was an officer at Eastern Correction Institution in Westover, Md., the state's largest prison.

As part of the conspiracy, Hankerson admitted to smuggling contraband into the prison and accepting payments from facilitators and inmates, earning at least $500 per package of smuggled goods. 

The stabbing stemmed from a dispute Hankerson had with another inmate referred to as D.S. in court records. Hankerson had smuggled contraband for an inmate who was member of the Bloods gang. Hankerson asked this gang member to confront D.S. after Hankerson had argued with D.S. Hankerson allowed the gang member to wander the tier where D.S. was housed on two occasions. The second time, the gang member stabbed D.S. in his cell. When another inmate alerted Hankerson to the attack, she left that area of the prison without informing prison authorities. She told the inmate to provide a false story to prison officials, saying Hankerson wasn't there at the time of the attack.

Law enforcement later intercepted calls in which Hankerson and others talked about the movement of contraband, arranging meetings with correctional officers, and compensation. 

In all 77 of 80 defendants charged in this case were convicted, including 16 of 18 corrections officers. Sentencing for those convicted has ranged from one year and a day to 65 months (nearly five-and-a-half years) in prison.