The Carney Administration announced Monday multiple steps to try and boost security at Delaware prisons after February’s hostage crisis at James T. Vaughn Correctional Facility left one correctional officer dead.
Gov. Carney also says his promised independent review of the stand-off will start immediately, and no longer wait until completion of the ongoing criminal investigation. That review, lead by two former judges, will send initial recommendations to Carney and the General Assembly by June 1st.
One piece of the governor's proposal has the state buying new safety and communications equipment, and increasing security sweeps at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center where the hostage crisis took place.
“We’ll have about $400,000 available for them now and an additional amount in [next year’s] budget, as well as the security teams that are important to keep contraband, and weapons in particular - handmade weapons - out of the prison, because they are really dangerous,” said Carney.
No details were given on exactly what equipment the $340,000 allocated immediately is purchasing, with Dept. of Correction officials citing security reasons for not revealing that information.
Carney's plan also seeks to beef up prison staffing and retain those already working there.
We’ve got a combined effort to both hire more correctional officers, actually hire into vacancies that are being created with correctional officers retiring, as well as to find ways to pay them more, Carney told Delaware Public Media Monday.
Specifically, Carney is asking for 50 new correctional officers positions at James T. Vaughn prison, where the hostage crisis took place and some guards have quit or retired since the incident that left guard Steven Floyd dead.
His plan would also add 25 new officers at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution.
Budget officials are reviewing whether or not to change starting salaries for officers – one of the biggest sticking points with the guards’ union.
Carney campaigned on reforming the criminal justice system, but Monday’s announcement didn’t mention overhauling the prison education system or adding new rehab programs as he had promised in November.