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Class action lawsuit alleges Vaughn guards abused inmates after 2017 riot

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Dozens of inmates at the Vaughn Correctional Center have filed a class action lawsuit alleging guards tortured them after last year’s riot.

The lawsuit accuses multiple prison officials, correctional officers and wardens of engaging in abusive behavior toward inmates and failing to provide them medical care in the weeks after the riot.

It also accuses Gov. John Carney, The Delaware Department of Corrections and the Attorney General’s office of ignoring inmate complaints.

Attorney Stephen Hampton, who represents the inmates, says the Delaware Department of Correction has done nothing about the allegations of abuse.

“When the inmates file grievances about the correctional officers, they all know about it, because they go into the grievance box and pull out the grievances and read them," he said. "So the first thing that happens is they get retaliated against for filing the grievance in the first place.”

Hampton said the guards brutalize the men without consequences for their actions.

“When you tie somebody up and they’re laying on their face and you spray pepper spray up their nose and in their eyes and mouth, that’s criminal," he said. "There’s just no call for that. And that kind of thing happened again and again. No investigation.”

Hampton said some inmate abuse continues today.

The inmates who filed the class action suit are not among those criminally charged in the riot. Sixteen former Vaughn inmates face murder charges in the death of a correctional officer during the riot.

The governor’s office and DOC had no comment on the pending litigation.

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