Correctional Officers Stage "Sick Out" at Delaware Prisons - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Correctional Officers Stage "Sick Out" at Delaware Prisons

Posted: Updated:
The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC) The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. -- Delaware correctional officers staged a "sick out" on Monday to demonstrate frustration over a perceived lack of action on calls to raise salaries and address other issues in prisons, according to sources familiar with the decision.

Dozens of correction officers participated in the coordinated sick day, according to sources with knowledge of the demonstration who were not authorized to speak publicly about the rank-and-file COs calling out.

DoC Spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said in an email message that the "vast majority" of correctional officers showed up for work Monday but would not comment on staffing levels at Delaware prisons, citing a potential safety risk.

However, Gravell noted that inmate visitation, a privilege officials have said is allowed under adequate staffing levels, was canceled at the Howard Young prison in Wilmington and at the Sussex Correctional Institution near Georgetown. The same privileges were available at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna and the Baylor Women's Correctional Institution and court and transport services involving correctional officers were not disrupted.

"Generally speaking, in the event of a staffing shortage, Wardens are empowered with the ability to cancel certain privileges including visitation and programs. This allows Officers to be assigned to different posts within the institution. We may also require mandatory overtime, but it’s something we try to avoid when possible," she said.

Additionally, Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps asked COs in an internal email to DoC staff not to participate in a sick out.

Phelps message, obtained by WBOC, told officers issues like pay could not be resolved overnight and require legislative approval. He also noted prisons may have to "freeze" COs in order to cover staffing requirements because of a "sick out."

"You currently have the support of the public and DOC leadership. It may feel like change isn’t happening fast enough, but a “sick out” is not the way to enact change or make a statement," he wrote. 

The decision by many COs to hold a "sick out" comes more than two months after the Feb. 1 hostage situation at Vaughn, in which correctional officer Steven Floyd was killed. The inmate uprising has heightened tensions from correctional officers over issues like pay and safety, which many of them say is the reason for chronic understaffing at prisons.

Dover Attorney Stephen Hampton, who is considering a potential class action lawsuit against the state on behalf of Vaughn inmates claiming mistreatment followed the hostage situation, said the issues at Delaware prisons need to be addressed and the "sick out" was intended to send a message.

"This is one way they can do it," he said. "They can't really strike of course but this is a way they can call people's attention to some of their issues."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Maryland Governor Calls Trump's Remarks 'Terrible Mistake'

    Maryland Governor Calls Trump's Remarks 'Terrible Mistake'

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 3:47 PM EDT2017-08-16 19:47:30 GMT
    Wednesday, August 16 2017 3:47 PM EDT2017-08-16 19:47:30 GMT
    President Donald Trump (left) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (right). (Photo credits: Win McNamee/Mark Wilson/Getty Images)President Donald Trump (left) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (right). (Photo credits: Win McNamee/Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
    Maryland's Republican governor has criticized President Donald J. Trump's comments blaming "both sides" for racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.More
    Maryland's Republican governor has criticized President Donald J. Trump's comments blaming "both sides" for racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.More
  • Police Search for Suspects in Dover Armed Robbery

    Police Search for Suspects in Dover Armed Robbery

    08/16/2017 15:26:00 -04:002017-08-16 19:26:00 GMT
    Wednesday, August 16 2017 3:26 PM EDT2017-08-16 19:26:02 GMT
    A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.
    The Dover Police Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred Wednesday morning.More
    The Dover Police Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred early Wednesday morning in a convenience store parking lot.More
  • Del. Judge OKs Takata Request to Halt Some Lawsuits Over Air Bags

    Del. Judge OKs Takata Request to Halt some lawsuits over air bags

    Wednesday, August 16 2017 3:05 PM EDT2017-08-16 19:05:31 GMT
    Wednesday, August 16 2017 3:05 PM EDT2017-08-16 19:05:31 GMT
    (Photo: CBS)(Photo: CBS)
    A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Wednesday temporarily halted the prosecution of lawsuits filed by Hawaii, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against Japanese auto-parts supplier Takata over its lethally defective air bag inflators.More
    A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Wednesday temporarily halted the prosecution of lawsuits filed by Hawaii, New Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against Japanese auto-parts supplier Takata over its lethally defective air bag inflators.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Woman Steals Tip Jar From OC Ice Cream Shop

    Woman Steals Tip Jar From OC Ice Cream Shop

    Assiss Dhal was working at Justine's Ice Cream Parlor when security cameras captured a woman stealing a tip jar from the counter.

    More

    Assiss Dhal was working at Justine's Ice Cream Parlor when security cameras captured a woman stealing a tip jar from the counter.

    More
  • Maryland SHA Closes Eastbound US 50 Salisbury Bypass

    Maryland SHA Closes Eastbound US 50 Salisbury Bypass

    The Maryland State Highway Administration today closed the eastbound US 50/US 13 Salisbury Bypass at the US 50 Business (Salisbury Boulevard) split due to pavement damage and drainage erosion just prior to US 13 Business.

    The right lane was already closed at the same location for a pipe repair. The westbound Salisbury Bypass is open and not impacted by the closure.

    More

    The Maryland State Highway Administration today closed the eastbound US 50/US 13 Salisbury Bypass at the US 50 Business (Salisbury Boulevard) split due to pavement damage and drainage erosion just prior to US 13 Business.

    The right lane was already closed at the same location for a pipe repair. The westbound Salisbury Bypass is open and not impacted by the closure.

    More
  • Students, Parents Happy with US 301/MD-304 Overpass Opening

    Students, Parents Happy with US 301/MD-304 Overpass Opening

    Now, in place of the dangerous intersection between Route 301 and 301, they have the overpass. Mothers Barb Burkhardt and Niki Pino say they can finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing their children are a lot safer. A Maryland State Highway official says a ramp still needs to be completed before the entire $50 million project is done.

    More

    A new overpass has opened at the US 301/MD 304 interchange in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. A new overpass opened Tuesday at the US 301/MD 304 interchange in Queen Anne's County.  

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices