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>>

  • Delaware State Police Goes Undercover to Stop Distracted Driving

    Delaware State Police Goes Undercover to Stop Distracted Driving

    Apr 26, 2018 11:00 PM2018-04-27 03:00:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:00 PM EDT2018-04-27 03:00:10 GMT
    Delaware State Police says distracted driving is on the rise, based off of numbers from 2017. That's why troopers have started going undercover to stop motorists using their cell phones on the road.More
    Delaware State Police says distracted driving is on the rise, based off of numbers from 2017. That's why troopers have started going undercover to stop motorists using their cell phones on the road.More
  • Lightship Overfalls Back Home in Lewes

    Lightship Overfalls Back Home in Lewes

    Apr 26, 2018 10:30 PM2018-04-27 02:30:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 10:32 PM EDT2018-04-27 02:32:50 GMT
    LEWES, Del.- After months in New Jersey for hull restoration, the Lightship Overfalls is back in Lewes. The ship arrived shortly after 8:15 p.m. on Thursday night, being supported by two tugboats. As the Overfalls arrived to its slip, it was met with cheeMore
    LEWES, Del.- After months in New Jersey for hull restoration, the Lightship Overfalls is back in Lewes. The ship arrived shortly after 8:15 p.m. on Thursday night, being supported by two tugboats. As the Overfalls arrived to its slip, it was met with cheeMore
  • Salisbury Pastor Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

    Laurel Pastor Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

    Apr 25, 2018 4:17 PM2018-04-25 20:17:00 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 8:31 PM EDT2018-04-27 00:31:25 GMT
    Pastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJPastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJ
    Pastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJPastor Cesar M. Rios Martinez of Iglesia El Espiritu Santo in Salisbury arrested on child porn charges; Photo Credit: Delaware DOJ
    LAUREL, Del. (WBOC/AP) - Authorities say a pastor at a church in Maryland has been arrested on child pornography charges.More
    LAUREL, Del. (WBOC/AP) - Authorities say a pastor at a church in Maryland has been arrested on child pornography charges.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Delaware Woman Killed In Murder-Suicide

    Delaware Woman Killed In Murder-Suicide

    A love triangle which started in upstate Delaware has culminated in a murder-suicide near Philadelphia.   The victim was a University of Delaware graduate and an assistant vice president at Villanova University.

    More

    A love triangle which started in upstate Delaware has culminated in a murder-suicide near Philadelphia.   The victim was a University of Delaware graduate and an assistant vice president at Villanova University.

    More
  • People March to Remember 9-Year-Old Germani Truitt and to Demand Justice

    People March to Remember 9-Year-Old Germani Truitt and to Demand Justice

    A family in Seaford is demanding justice after a nine-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run crash. Hundreds attended a march for Germani Truitt to remember her and to protest the fact that the driver who hit her is free on $6000 bond.

    More

    A family in Seaford is demanding justice after a nine-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run crash. Hundreds attended a march for Germani Truitt to remember her and to protest the fact that the driver who hit her is free on $6000 bond.

    More
  • Eleven Arrested in Georgetown Drug Bust

    Eleven Arrested in Georgetown Drug Bust

    Dover Police and Georgetown Police cooperated in a drug investigation that finished with the arrest of 11 people. Police say the bust started with the search of a building at the Dunbarton apartments in Georgetown on January 31. 

    More

    Dover Police and Georgetown Police cooperated in a drug investigation that finished with the arrest of 11 people. Police say the bust started with the search of a building at the Dunbarton apartments in Georgetown on January 31. 

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices