Delaware Public Media

Gov. Carney nominates Claire DeMatteis to lead Dept. of Correction

Jun 4, 2019

Gov. John Carney plans to nominate Claire DeMatteis as the next Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

If confirmed by the State Senate, she’ll be the first woman to serve in the post, replacing Perry Phelps, who is retiring July 15th.

“If confirmed by the State Senate, I look forward to working with the women and men of the Delaware Department of Correction to continue to strengthen safety and security, officer recruitment and retention, and programming and services for inmates, as well as implement a coordinated path of services from an offender’s entry into prison through release back into our communities,” said DeMatteis in a statement..


Carney previously called on DeMatteis to serve as a Special Assistant at the Department of Correction.  She was brought on in June 2017 to help implement the governor’s response to recommendations made by an independent review of the deadly prison uprising at Vaughn Correctional Center.  

The review of that February 2017 riot highlighted issues with understaffing and prison culture, and Carney’s plan to address them included pay increases for correctional officers, a decrease in mandatory overtime and new reentry programs for inmates.


“For much of the last two years, Claire has worked side-by-side with Commissioner Phelps to lead reform efforts at the Department of Correction – to make our facilities safer, to invest in new equipment and training, and to recruit correctional officers to do one of the toughest jobs in state government,” said Carney in a statement.

DeMatteis is currently serving as a Special Assistant, coordinating reentry initiatives across six state agencies, including DOC and the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Social Services.

DeMatteis also spent 10 years as senior counsel for then-Senator Joe Biden from 1994 to 2004.