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Prison reform coalition marches on Dover

About 30 activists marched from the capitol to the governor’s mansion Thursday to keep pressure on lawmakers to overhaul the state’s correctional system.

The Delaware Coalition for Prison Reform and Justice shook off raindrops in Dover as they called for better educational opportunities for inmates as well as improved conditions overall.

Enrico Stratton-Bey is the cousin of correctional officer Steven Floyd who died during a prison standoff this past February.

He says he saw prison guards abuse inmates while he served a five-year sentence in the early to mid ‘90s. But Stratton-Bey notes fixing that won’t solve all the problems within the correctional system.

“We have to look at police brutality, we have to look at black on black crime, white on white crime. A lot of these things are contributing factors, as well as the drug problem that’s in the community,” he said.

Stratton-Bey and the group say prison guards need more training, higher wages and better conditions as well.

The coalition has called for an independent federal investigation into the cause and underlying conditions that led to the riot at the Vaughn Correctional center to no avail.

Stratton-Bey says there isn’t a quick-fix solution to the problem, but lawmakers can’t afford to ignore it any longer.

“It takes the community as well as those in higher offices coming together as a group of people and not big I’s and little yous to bring about a solution to the problem that we see in society today,” he said.

The two retired judges leading a state review ordered by Gov. John Carney (D) will offer a draft report in June.

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