Prison Reform Group Demands Changes in Delaware Prisons - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Prison Reform Group Demands Changes in Delaware Prisons

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WILMINGTON, Del. --- A group calling for improvements to the treatment of inmates in Delaware prisons on Friday made demands to the state aimed getting rid of inhumane conditions members believe are found in prisons like the Vaughn Correctional Center.

Members of the Delaware Coalition of Prison Reform and Justice want U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the hostage situation at Vaughn last month that left correctional officer Steven Floyd dead. Additionally, members are demanding the state cut down on abusive behavior toward inmates they say is coming from officers and want more education programs available for inmates in prison.

"Sometimes, you have to take the fight to the opposition. This is a fight for justice and transparency," said Rev. Chris Bullock, one of the group's leaders.

The groups demands come during a time of increased scrutiny on the prison following the uprising. Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Correction are conducting investigations of the incident. Two retired judges have been chosen by Gov. John Carney to review the causes of the inmate uprising on Feb. 1, though their probe will only begin after the criminal investigation is completed. No one has been charged in the incident.

Additionally, correctional officers have said the hostage situation shows why issues like understaffing need to be addressed and claim prisons are unsafe.

Dover Attorney Steve Hampton has also said he has received dozens of letters from inmates who claim they have been beaten and abused by correctional officers inside Delaware prisons as retaliation hostage situation. The union representing correctional officers has also denied prisoners are being abused by COs.

Rep. Steve Smyk, a House Corrections committee member, says other issues---like prison staffing---have to be resolved first so those programs and rehabilitation of inmates can be done safely by the department of correction.

"We may call it correction, but right now it's just a prison. That's because those educational programs have not been able to be met because of staffing."

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