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Gov. Carney unveils legislative fixes for prison system

Gov. John Carney (D) says he’s “disappointed” criminal charges haven’t been filed against anyone connected to a deadly prison riot in February.

Carney made that comment during a press conference Tuesday as he reacted to the early results of an independent review focused on the hostage crisis that unfolded at the Vaughn Correctional Center.

Delaware State Police hasn’t said when it’ll wrap up its investigation.

The governor wants to change the culture at Vaughn and the prison system as a whole – including higher pay and more training for guards, as well as relying less on overtime.

“We have to do a better job compensating our correctional officers so we can recruit more to fill these vacancies,” he said.

Carney will add a new special assistant to reform a management system many rank-and-file guards see as unresponsive. Reports on that progress will be issued over the next year.

“If we’re not doing very well, which is a possibility – probably a high possibility – given what we’re talking about, then our feet will be held to the fire.”

He also wants state lawmakers to set aside $2 million for new security cameras for Vaughn. No cameras were installed in Building C where the riot began and few throughout the prison are modern.

Improving re-entry programs for offenders also makes the list. The Department of Correction will recruit a new administrator to oversee those programs and report on his or her progress in November.

Negotiations are ongoing with the correctional officers’ union over better pay and benefits, which Carney says could add to the state’s budget problem.

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