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DOC moving on reform recommendations following Vaughn prison riot

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media

State officials say progress is being made to boost security, culture and morale at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and other state prisons.

In the wake of last year’s prison riot at Vaughn, which led to the death of corrections officer Lieutenant Steven Floyd, Gov. John Carney appointed a special assistant to review progress of changes in the Department of Correction.

A report issued Thursday by that special assistant, Claire DeMatteis, shows the DOC on pace to implement all recommendations made by an independent review of state prisons following the deadly Vaughn uprising.

“We’ve already made progress on nearly all 41 of these. When I took this assignment last July, I didn’t think I’d be able to report that much progress come January. So, by July we will make progress on all 41 of these recommendations,” said DeMatteis.

DeMatteis says the department has installed new cameras at Vaughn, is beginning a new training program for guards next week, and is working to improve services and programs for inmates.

“It’s the correctional officers who know that better than anybody. They want inmates to have skills training and education classes, religious service, library services. It keeps the inmates active, learning, growing, versus just sitting in their cells and being disgruntled,” said DeMatteis.

“We are serious about implementing the recommendations of the Independent Review, and improving safety and security across our correctional system," said Carney's statement. “We have more work ahead of us. Making lasting change won't happen in a few short months. But as this report indicates, we are making progress."


DeMatteis says these projects will cost more than $2 million dollars, and she intends to ask for more funds in the next fiscal year.

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