Governor Carney to Nominate Claire DeMatteis as DOC Commissioner

DeMatteis has helped lead reform efforts at Department of Correction

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced his intention to nominate Claire DeMatteis – a former senior counsel to then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden – as the next Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

The nomination will require approval by the Delaware Senate. DeMatteis would replace Commissioner Perry Phelps, who will retire on July 15. DeMatteis would be the first female Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

“For much of the last two years, Claire has worked side-by-side with Commissioner Phelps to lead reform efforts at the Department of Correction – to make our facilities safer, to invest in new equipment and training, and to recruit correctional officers to do one of the toughest jobs in state government,” said Governor Carney. “Over three decades of experience in government and the private sector, Claire has worked closely with community leaders, legislators and law enforcement officials and has earned their respect and trust. I have full confidence that Claire’s experience and leadership qualities will serve our state well at the Department of Correction. I look forward to the Senate considering her nomination.”

In June 2017, Governor Carney appointed DeMatteis to serve as his Special Assistant at the Department of Correction. In that role, DeMatteis worked alongside Commissioner Phelps, and led implementation of Governor Carney’s plan following the Independent Review into the events of February 1, 2017 at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Governor Carney’s plan included a 22 percent increase in starting pay for correctional officers; significant investments in new technology, equipment and training; the creation of a Labor-Management Committee to more effectively recruit officers and decrease mandatory overtime; and renewed efforts to help inmates successfully re-enter their communities.

Currently, DeMatteis is serving as Special Assistant coordinating comprehensive re-entry initiatives across six state agencies, including the Departments of Correction, Education, Labor, and Health and Social Services.

“If confirmed by the State Senate, I look forward to working with the women and men of the Delaware Department of Correction to continue to strengthen safety and security, officer recruitment and retention, and programming and services for inmates, as well as implement a coordinated path of services from an offender’s entry into prison through release back into our communities,” said DeMatteis. “It would be an honor to lead the state’s largest law enforcement agency of dedicated correctional officers and probation and parole officers.”

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider Governor Carney’s nomination of DeMatteis this month.

From 2008-2016, DeMatteis served as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer of two multi-billion dollar corporations. Previously, DeMatteis spent four years at Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, a Mid-Atlantic law firm with offices in Wilmington. She was partner in charge of the firm’s Delaware office from 2007-2008.

During her decade working as senior counsel for then-Senator Biden, from 1994-2004, DeMatteis served as a member of a senior team on issues involving law enforcement, women’s rights, civil rights and constitutional matters. She helped guide campaign strategy, managed constituent communications and drafted legislation.

Most recently, DeMatteis served in a senior role at the Delaware Department of Labor, where she helped navigate a resolution to the recent data breach at the department, keeping the media, public and legislators well informed on the state’s response and structural reforms to prevent future breaches. DeMatteis began her career working in the Delaware State Senate from 1984-1987 as a Page and Calendar Clerk. She has served state elected officials from both parties, including as legal assistant to then-Governor Mike Castle.

DeMatteis earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, and holds a law degree from Widener University Delaware Law School.



Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Hertzfeld Assumes Command of Delaware Capitol Police

State of Delaware
Department of Safety and Homeland Security
P.O. Box 818
Dover, Delaware 19903-0818
Date: December 31, 2018                                                                                                                                             Contact :  Kimberly Chandler – (302) 632-7060
Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Hertzfeld Assumes
Command of Delaware Capitol Police
Today Robert M. Coupe, Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, announced Lieutenant Michael F. Hertzfeld, 47, as Chief of the Delaware Capitol Police. 
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) and the Delaware Capitol Police (DCP) held a ceremony to mark the start of Chief Hertzfeld’s role as Chief of Police.  Hertzfeld, with 22 years of police experience, was selected to lead the Capitol Police following the retirement of Chief John Horsman.  Chief Horsman retires with 14 years of service with the DCP and 37 years of total police experience including serving as President of FBI-LEEDA.
“Chief Hertzfeld is a qualified, experienced and proven leader with expansive knowledge of the Delaware Capitol Police and its operations” Secretary Coupe said. “I am confident in his ability to lead the women and men of the Capitol Police and to serve the citizens of our State.” 
The ceremony which featured the Honorable Mark D. Buckworth, Family Court Judge, administering the oath of office was attended by many members of the Delaware Capitol Police, Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Delaware law enforcement community.
“I thank Chief Horsman for his leadership and dedication to the Delaware Capitol Police.” Chief Hertzfeld said.  “I firmly believe a leader is only as good as the people surrounding him, and we have an outstanding group of individuals in the Division.  I look forward to the opportunity to serve in this new leadership role and I am confident that working together with the men and women of the Capitol Police we can continue to move the Division forward as we serve the State of Delaware.”
Chief Hertzfeld began his police career in 1996 and joined the DCP ranks in 2009 as a Sergeant and first line supervisor.  During his law enforcement careerhe has served as a Patrol Officer, Detective, Quick Response Team (Q.R.T.) Operator, Public Information Officer, Training Coordinator, Internal Affairs Supervisor, Special Investigations Supervisor and Legislative Affairsliaison.  He has served in several leadership roles during his career including most recently as the DCP Northern Operations Commander where he implemented and oversaw a multitude of management innovations improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Northern Operation. This included adopting an intelligence and accountability-driven predictive policing model.
Chief Hertzfeld received the State of Delaware House of Representatives Exceptional Duty Award and was previously selected as the New Castle City Police Officer of the Year.  He is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and a graduate of the 264th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.  He received command level training from FBI-LEEDA, the Penn State Justice and Safety Institute, the Northeast Counter Drug Leadership and Mastering Performance Management Program, and the U.S. Marshal Court Security Program. 
Chief Hertzfeld earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management and a Master of Science Degree in Homeland Security with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University.
Chief Hertzfeld is a Delaware native and resides in Middletown with his wife, Stacy. He is the proud father of two children, Nicolas and Peyton.

Delaware Awarded Two Federal Grants to Reduce Recidivism at the State Level

Delaware receives $1,509,471 for the Statewide Recidivism Reduction and Innovations in Reentry Grants

Dover, DE— The Delaware Criminal Justice Council (CJC) has been awarded $1.5 million in federal grant funding to build on state level-efforts to improve Delaware’s reentry systems and reduce recidivism. The majority of funds will be administered by the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) to prepare inmates and probationers for successful reentry. The grants are funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

“We know that approximately 6,000 individuals are released from Delaware prisons each year and these grants will help us fund initiatives to improve the lives of those men and women and increase their chances for success,” said DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps. “These grants will allow us to amplify our pre-release programs by providing offenders with additional education opportunities and job training, connecting them with community resources and changing attitudes about criminal thinking.”

In December, Governor Carney signed Executive Order 27 to improve reentry procedures for incarcerated individuals in Delaware. The Order created the Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission (DCRC) to focus on reentry reform, policies and procedures, with the goal of helping former inmates more successfully reenter their communities. “We have an obligation to make sure that Delaware offenders who have served out their sentences have a real opportunity to reenter their communities successfully, and positively contribute,” said Governor Carney. “The fact is, over 90 percent of Delaware inmates will leave prison. It’s in our best interest, as a state, to make sure that they have access to education, treatment, and job skills training that will help them succeed.”

Programs and reentry improvements funded by the federal grants align with the Commission’s blueprint for reentry reform. DCRC’s reentry blueprint establishes multiple points during an incarcerated person’s journey towards prison discharge for state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and community members to administer evidence-based practices.

“Delaware has been aggressive and forward-thinking in pursuing federal grants to increase our reentry efforts,” said Christian Kervick, Executive Director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council. “It helps tremendously that our federal partners see the commitment of Governor Carney, DOC Commissioner Phelps and five other state agencies to come together and coordinate the education, job skills, healthcare, social services and housing ex-offenders need to become productive members of our communities.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 2.1 million people are incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and millions of people cycle through local jails every year. Ninety-five percent of all people incarcerated in state prisons will eventually be released. Developing a comprehensive approach for reducing recidivism is challenging, requiring access to data, service delivery changes, coordination of multiple systems, and strategic planning. To address these challenges, in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance competitively awarded SRR funds to five states, including Delaware, to develop comprehensive strategic plans for statewide recidivism reduction.

The grants will provide the DOC with resources and technical assistance to implement the previously developed strategic plan/blueprint under the National Criminal Justice Reform Project (NCJRP), an initiative administered in five states by the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) and funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Interventions to be funded include:

  • Programs to Support Individuals Leaving Prison:
    • Reentry case management by a nonprofit organization for probationers
    • Job training in construction skills at Del Tech for inmates at the Plummer Center (with subsequent employment at 2Fish Home Construction)
    •  Financial subsidies for probationers needing support with housing and transportation costs
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy for inmates at Morris Community Correctional Facility and for probationers already in the community
    • Equipment for Delaware Correctional Industries, to help inmates acquire job skills prior to release
  • System Improvement Projects:
    • Gap analysis by George Mason University of DOC’s community corrections programming
    • Validation of two assessment tools used by the DOC to assess offender risk and assign probation levels
    • Evaluation of DOC’s contracted sex offender treatment program
    • Creation of curriculum to cross-train all direct-service DOC staff on use of the new Transition Accountability Plan (TAP), which will serve as the electronic case management plan
  • Training for DOC staff on the University of Cincinnati’s Correctional Program Checklist (CPC), which builds capacity for DOC to monitor the quality of its correctional programs.

Many of the new grant-funded interventions will be overseen by the newly-launched DCRC subcommittees, which include prisoner reentry issues such as employment, education, and collaborative case management. The newly-restructured DOC Planning, Research, & Reentry Unit will oversee implementation of the initiatives, working closely with other state agencies and community organizations. “What makes these grants exciting is that we have a statewide framework for reform, and we’re able to fund programs, interventions, and projects that directly support the direction for system reform that we’re all working towards together,” says the Chief of the Unit, Joanna Champney.

Second Chance Act grants support state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning to their communities from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities. Since 2009, more than 840 awards have been made to grantees across 49 states, which have served an estimated 164,000 people to date. To learn more about the Second Chance Act and read other information and resources related to reentry, visit


Governor Carney Signs Executive Order to Improve Reentry Procedures, Reduce Recidivism

Executive Order creates commission focused on reentry reform, and new office at DOC to oversee implementation

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed Executive Order #27, which focuses on improving reentry procedures for incarcerated individuals in Delaware. The Executive Order creates a commission focused on reentry reform, policies, and procedures, with a goal of helping former inmates more successfully reenter their communities. The Order will more effectively coordinate service delivery, strengthen data sharing among agencies, create a comprehensive reentry protocol, improve the availability of academic and vocational programming prior to an inmate’s release, and strive to reduce recidivism in Delaware.

“It’s our responsibility to look out for every Delawarean. We need to make sure offenders who serve out their sentences are able to reenter society ready to positively contribute to their communities, and have the support they need to succeed,” said Governor Carney. “This Executive Order will improve our existing reentry procedures, and in turn, reduce recidivism. That will help strengthen communities across our state.”

Executive Order #27 is the result of Delaware’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, an initiative led by the National Governors Association and the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning to assist states in implementing evidence-based criminal justice reforms.

“This Executive Order enhances the ability for the Department of Correction to meet its goals of ensuring public safety and providing opportunities for rehabilitation to justice-involved individuals preparing to return to the community,” said Perry Phelps, Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction. “I look forward to working with Governor Carney and our sister agencies to reduce barriers and collateral consequences for the men and women exiting the correctional system.”

Approximately 23,000 incarcerated adults are released from the State of Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) facilities annually. Seventy-six percent of those who are released from DOC facilities are rearrested within three years. Sixty-eight percent of those released had a reconviction and sixty-five percent had a recommitment. Delaware’s percentage of probationers is approximately forty-six percent higher than the national average, and its percentage of incarcerated adults is approximately twelve percent higher than the national average. Reentry reforms in Executive Order #27 are intended to directly confront Delaware’s high rate of recidivism.

“The Delaware Criminal Justice Council is excited to work with Governor Carney and the newly-established commission to build on the continuing work of improving reentry services to all justice involved individuals,” said Christian Kervick, Executive Director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council. “This Executive Order includes best practices and reforms to improve our Criminal Justice System and increase public safety throughout the State.”

The Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission will consist of members of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, the Attorney General and others who work closely on this issue, including the Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Council. This Commission will oversee implementation and further develop the State’s comprehensive strategic reentry initiatives, ensuring that federal, state, and local resources are used most efficiently to reduce duplicative reentry services and align with the application of evidence-based approaches.

“Ninety-eight percent of the people who enter Delaware prisons will return to the community. They are our neighbors. We live, shop, and work in the same community,” said Adam Balick, Chair of the newly-created Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission. “It is in all of our interests to give them the tools they need to succeed when they return to our community. We know the factors that lead to recidivism. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, among other things. We can lower recidivism rates in Delaware by helping these men and women reintegrate successfully.”

This Executive Order also restructures the DOC Office of Research and Planning to the Office of Planning, Research and Reentry. This office will oversee the implementation and maintenance of the Commission’s initiatives from prison to community corrections centers to probation and parole to the community.

“The National Criminal Justice Association is extremely pleased to have worked with Governor Carney and his leadership team to advance prisoner reentry reform efforts in the State of Delaware,” said Chris Asplen, Executive Director of the National Criminal Justice Association. “This Executive Order represents over a year and a half of work by many committed, hard-working leaders from a myriad of disciplines and agencies who make up the steering committee and many working groups and community groups who are dedicated to increasing public safety by improving the state’s prisoner reentry process. This EO includes the many priorities identified in Delaware’s Prisoner Reentry Strategic Plan. We are grateful to our partners at the National Governor’s Association, our consultants and to the John and Laura Arnold Foundation for the support that made this work possible.”


Governor Carney, Commissioner Phelps Release Final Report of DOC Special Assistant

Report details measurable progress implementing recommendations of Independent Review

SMYRNA, Del. – Noting a commitment to publicly document implementation of needed prison improvements, Governor John Carney and Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Perry Phelps released a report today detailing the measurable progress made implementing the recommendations in the Final Report of the Independent Review of Security Issues at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC).

Over the past year, hundreds of cameras have been installed at JTVCC for the first time since the facility was built in 1971. DOC has strengthened officer safety, communication and training, increased officer recruiting and retention efforts, modernized operations and intelligence gathering and improved services and programs for inmates.

“Since last February, we have committed to publicly documenting the serious challenges at the Department of Correction, and to implementing reforms in a way that will hold us accountable to the public every step of the way,” said Governor Carney. “We have made significant progress in implementing recommendations of the Independent Review team, and taking steps forward that will make our prison system safer for officers and inmates alike. This is not a short-term mission. We have more work to do. But we are committed to doing what’s right, to making necessary changes, and to holding this process accountable publicly. I want to thank Commissioner Phelps for his leadership throughout this process, and Special Assistant Claire DeMatteis for her careful work in assisting Commissioner Phelps’ team as they implement lasting reforms.”

“Our overarching motivation to strengthen the Department’s operations and security was to honor the ultimate sacrifice and service of Lt. Steven Floyd,” said Commissioner Phelps. “Having a one-year time frame to implement the reforms channeled our motivation into action and positive results.”

Of the 41 recommendations, the DOC has implemented and measurably addressed 40 of them, which is detailed in the report written by DeMatteis, who was assigned as Special Assistant to the DOC for one year to work with Commissioner Phelps on the needed reforms.

“Some of the recommendations could be implemented with a single directive or action; others, such as efforts to improve communication and culture and issues involving inmate classifications, have been implemented and entail ongoing efforts,” DeMatteis said. “This has been a year of continuous improvement for the Department of Correction. Not all problems are solved, but the Department is stronger than it was 18 months ago, one year ago, one month ago.”

The one recommendation that requires additional time to address is the need to reduce mandatory overtime. While enhanced recruiting efforts could take another 18 to 24 months to yield substantial results in lower officer vacancies, DOC leaders are actively seeking short-term solutions, particularly at JTVCC, to reduce the high number of overtime shifts required to operate the facility safely. These solutions are expected to be carried out beginning this fall.

Progress documented in the implementation report includes:

  • After years of budget constraints when funding for officer trainings was reduced, DOC partnered with Wilmington University to conduct a 6-hour training course for all correctional officers in the areas of risk management, de-escalation skills, communication skills and cultural competency.  More than 1200 officers completed the mandatory training from January-July 2018 from experienced, skilled law enforcement officers who are Wilmington University professors.  Wilmington University law enforcement professionals also conducted an 8-hour training course for 400 correctional leaders in supervisory management and leadership skills.
  • Officers’ starting salary increased to $40,000 in FY18 and $43,000 in FY19.
  • A new career ladder and revised promotional standards have been implemented.
  • DOC is offering an incentive signing bonus of $3,000 for new officers who graduate from the Academy, and who stay with the Department for at least 2 years.
  • DOC also is offering a referral bonus of $1,000 to existing officers who refer a recruit who graduates from the Academy who stay with the Department for at least 2 years.
  • Programs and services offered to inmates at the JTVCC have improved over the past year. There are new culinary, horticulture and automotive technician programs available to inmates to give them critical job-skills.
  • Several non-profit groups have resumed operating programs at JTVCC, including: Victims Voices Heard, Prison Arts Program, Alternatives to Violence Program, Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics, Echoes of Joy Choir; and the Kings Garden Project.
  • The Inmate Advisory Council, which was initiated by Warden Dana Metzger in the fall of 2017, holds formal monthly meetings with the Warden and his senior staff, medical providers, counselors and treatment staff.  The goal is to foster discussion and problem-solving between inmates and corrections officials.

As DeMatteis stated in the Implementation Report: “The public should be confident that the Department of Correction is focused every hour of every day on public safety, rehabilitation and the law enforcement training, safety of operations, intelligence-sharing and communication required to prevent another inmate uprising that led to the hostage crisis and tragic death of Lt. Steven Floyd in February 2017. Dedicated to his memory, ultimate sacrifice and service over self, correctional officers are committed to performing an extraordinary public service for the people of Delaware.”

Click here to read the full report.


Related news:

Governor Carney Releases Interim Report of DOC Special Assistant
Governor Carney Releases Final Report of Department of Correction Independent Review
Governor Carney Announces Appointment of Special Assistant at Department of Correction
Governor Carney, COAD Announce Agreement to Raise Correctional Officer Pay
Governor Carney Announces Plan to Address Recommendations of DOC Independent Review
Governor Carney Releases Initial Report of Department of Correction Independent Review