Delaware Correction Department Investigating Incident that Left - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Three Delaware Correctional Officers Injured in Incident at Vaughn Correctional Center

Posted: 10/31/2017 15:03:00 -04:00 Updated:
The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. (WBOC/Chopper 16) The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. (WBOC/Chopper 16)

DOVER, Del. --- Three Delaware correctional officers suffered minor injuries on Monday night during an incident involving an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, officials said.

Citing an ongoing investigation, Jayme Gravell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Correction, said on Tuesday she could not disclose further details about what happened, other than confirming the officers received minor injuries and that it involved an inmate.

Geoff Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, said in a statement that the injuries occurred while dealing with a disruptive and disorderly inmate who, at one point, threw punches and charged officers. He also said the incident followed a weekend in which there were multiple instances involving inmates refusing to following orders or being disruptive.

Klopp said the injuries included a dislocated shoulder to one officer and a back injury to another officer.

The incident comes nearly nine months after an inmate uprising on Feb. 1 in the prison's "C" building that saw the death of Correctional Officer Steven Floyd. Inmates seized control of the building and took a number of prison staffers hostage, including Floyd, who was found dead when law enforcement stormed the prison the following morning.

The uprising sparked intense scrutiny on the prison and authors of an independent review of the causes behind the hostage situation blamed issues like understaffing and the overworking of officers to keep the prison at adequate staffing levels. 

Gov. John Carney put forth a plan to invest millions of dollars into raising COs salaries to improve retention and recruitment, purchase new equipment, and improve training.

But following Monday's incident, Klopp said there has been slow, if much progress at all, in improving safety for correctional officers in Delaware prisons like Vaughn.

“We are still understaffed. We are still freezing officers in place, working long hours to the point of exhaustion. We are still unable to guarantee the safety of staff and inmates in our institutions," he said.

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