Baltimore City Detention Center

Baltimore City Detention Center (formerly known as the Baltimore City Jail) is a Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services state prison for men and women. It is located on 401 East Eager Street in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. It has been a state facility since July 1991.

The Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) houses both male and female inmates in separate units. 

Baltimore City Detention Center is part of a correctional campus that also includes:

  • Baltimore City Correctional Center at 901 Greenmount Avenue, also a state facility
  • Maryland's Metropolitan Transition Center at 954 Forrest Street, first established 1811 as the Maryland Penitentiary, site of the state's (now-decommissioned) execution chamber
  • the Chesapeake Detention Facility at 401 East Madison Street, formerly known as the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center

The BCDC has a working capacity of 4,000 prisoners and ranks among the top 20 largest detention facilities in the United States. The five buildings of the BCDC also represent one of the oldest prisons in the country, and approximately 90% of detainees are pretrial detainees.

In July 2015, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the men's facility would be permanently closed, and the 750 inmates would be transferred to more modern facilities. However, he did not announce the exact date of the closure.

The jail has a long and "checkered history" and there have been numerous lawsuits over jail conditions.The Baltimore Sun was already reporting about poor conditions in the jail in 1885, and by 1938, some Baltimore City residents "were calling for the building to be demolished and replaced with a new facility."

In 1952, voters approved spending $6 million to build a new jail, but local residents opposed the idea. In 1962, the city decided to carry out an extensive renovation of the existing building instead.

Unfortunately, the problems didn’t go away. In 1972, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported a "desperate lack of training among guards, lax security measures, poor sanitation and inadequate inmate rehabilitation programs" and well as poor morale among the thenㄧ273 guards.

In 1979, a federal judge ruled that only one inmate could be housed in each cell. As a result, city officials announced a five-year jail renovation and expansion project. In 1987, after a ten-year lawsuit relating to jail overcrowding, the city agreed to provide 500 new beds for inmates and to cap the jail population at 2,622.

A series of efforts to reduce the jail population failed, and by 1989, the jail's population was approaching 3,000, and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke declared an emergency. In 1991, the state took over the facility from the city, changing its name from Baltimore City Jail to Baltimore City Detention Center.

In 2002, the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division determined that poor conditions at the facility "had contributed to the deaths of several detainees, some of whom received little or no medical attention for chronic health problems," and had violated inmates' constitutional rights.

In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Duvall v. Hogan, on behalf of jail inmates, alleging that the facility's poor conditions rose to the level of unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. A settlement was reached in 2009.

In June 2015, the ACLU filed a motion to reopen the suit, arguing that the state had failed to meaningfully improve conditions. In its motion to reopen, ACLU attorneys wrote that BCDC was "a dank and dangerous place, where detainees are confined in dirty cells infested with vermin," that the facility's showers "are full of drain flies, black mold and filth," and that at one point, an entire section of the BCDC went without working sinks or toilets for several days, creating a "fetid and unhealthy" atmosphere "because the detainees had no way to dispose of their bodily wastes except by using the nonfunctional toilets.” Lastly, ACLU attorneys wrote that temperatures at the jail often climb above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Baltimore City Detention Center

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at Baltimore City Detention Center are on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 10:00 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. and 3:00p.m. - 4:45p.m.


Dress Code

All visitors, both adults and children, must dress appropriately for visitation.  All clothing must cover the neck to the kneecaps.

The following types of clothing are not allowed to be worn:

  • tube tops, tank tops, or halter tops
  • see-through clothing
  • mini-skirts, mini-dresses, shorts, skorts, or culottes (at or above the kneecap)
  • form-fitting clothes such as leotards, spandex, and leggings
  • clothes that expose a person's midriff, side, or back
  • tops or dresses that have revealing necklines and/or excessive splits
  • coats, jackets, shawls, and scarves will be placed in an appropriate area.

Physical Address

Baltimore City Detention Center
401 E. Eager Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(410) 209-4001 or
(410) 209-4145 (24 hours)

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DOC Number
Baltimore City Detention Center
401 E. Eager Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at the Baltimore City Detention Center, but they do have access to a phone during assigned times and are allowed to make monitored outgoing calls. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Maryland, please click here.

How to Send Money

Baltimore City Detention Center uses a Lockbox system for friends and family members to send inmates money. The Lockbox is a service provided by a bank where money orders received at the designated P.O. Box are picked up and delivered to the bank responsible for processing and depositing the incoming Money Orders sent to inmates.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services –Division of Correction only accepts Money Orders. NOTE: Cashier Checks, Personal Checks, Official Checks, Bill Pay Checks, Bank Checks, Non-Electronic Transfers, and Non-US Currency Checks/Money Orders will not be accepted.

You must include the following info on the money order:

  • The Inmate’s Name, Institution, and Inmate SID # (State Identification Number)
  • Sender’s Name and Address

Please use Black or Blue Ink pen only on the money orders and neatly PRINT the required information.

Money Orders should be made payable to the Inmate (Full Committed Name; no AKA’s, etc) and sent to:

Inmate Name, DOC Number
Baltimore City Detention Center
P.O. Box 17111
Baltimore, MD 21297-0382

​Programs For ​Inmates

For teenagers facing adult charges, the Baltimore Pretrial Complex houses a unique high school behind bars: Eager Street Academy. In addition to a wide array of mental health, social, educational, recreational, spiritual, substance abuse, and rehabilitative programs, detainees are afforded opportunities to learn employable skills while performing job assignments within the facility, and during outside detail positions within the community.

Pictures of Baltimore City Detention Center

Careers at Baltimore City Detention Center

If you are interested in a career with the Maryland Department of Corrections at the Baltimore City Detention Center, you can find job listings by clicking here. If you are interested in a career as a correctional officer with the DOC, click here.