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DOC seeks budget increase to make recommended changes

The Delaware Department of Corrections is asking for an 8 percent increase in its budget for next year.

Officials says the increase comes from changes the department’s making following this year’s deadly riot at a prison.

DOC Acting Commissioner Alan Grinstead said he’s asking for nearly $334 million next year to implement recommendations from the independent report issued this summer. An officer was killed in February at Vaughn Correctional Center during a nearly 20-hour inmate uprising.

They’re addressing some security concerns by adding cameras and upgrading technology. And they’re bringing back previously cut educational and vocational programs for the inmates.

“We’ve determined that there needs to be kind of a refocus on let’s get back to the treatment, the programming needs that the independent review team had identified that we need to get back to to have them get back to what we hired them to do," he said. "And that’s what the intent here is.”

The Department of Corrections is also trying to recruit more prison officers and has raised the starting pay to 43,000 dollars a year.

But probation and parole officers said they’re underpaid and ignored. They also want a pay raise.

Todd Mumford is president of the Fraternal Order of Police Probation Parole Lodge. He said parole and probation officers want to be paid at least as much as the guards. “What it would do is take the starting salary from $36,000 for a probation officer and bump it up to about $43,000, which is right in the range it should be.”

Parole and probation officers said morale is low, they have to work second jobs to make ends meet and they're also dealing with student debt from the college degree they’re required to have.

Some of the officers also want to be equipped with tasers. They point out they deal with the same people correctional officers once guarded.

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