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Former Connections employee convicted in connection with handling of inmate death

Roman Battaglia, Delaware Public Media

A former Connections employee is convicted of two misdemeanors related to the handling of an inmate death.

Erin Clark-Penland worked as a nurse at Sussex Correctional Institution in fall of 2018, when an inmate there died. Investigators determined foul play was not involved, but found repeated discrepancies in claims Clark-Penland made. 

She told investigators she saw the inmate the previous night and entered the claim in official medical logs, according to the state Department of Justice. But video surveillance and witnesses showed the claims were false. 

A Sussex County jury found Clark-Penland guilty of Falsifying Business Records and Providing a False Statement to Law Enforcement. 

The convictions carry a maximum prison sentence of two years.

Connections provided health care in state prisons for six years, before the Department of Corrections ended its contract with the company early in 2020. 

The former major behavioral health care provider in Delaware is currently set to pay millions to settle federal lawsuits alleging fraud and misuse of controlled substances.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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