Governor Carney to Publicly Release Final Report of DOC Independent Review September 1

Extension requested by Independent Review team to fully consider influx of testimonials, documents

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor Carney announced on Friday that he will publicly release the final report of the Department of Correction Independent Review on September 1. He has extended the deadline for the Independent Review team to produce its final report from August 15 to August 31. The extension will allow the review team to fully consider an influx of testimonials from inmates and correctional officers, as well as a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) documenting inmate grievances.

Former Judge William L. Chapman, Jr. and former U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III are leading the Independent Review into the conditions that may have contributed to the hostage incident on February 1 at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. Since the release of the team’s preliminary report on June 1, Governor Carney has reached an agreement with the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware to raise starting pay for correctional officers by 20 percent to help recruit and retain officers; appointed a Special Assistant to oversee cultural turnaround efforts at DOC; added 50 correctional officer positions at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center; and worked with the General Assembly to make new investments in equipment and training, including $2 million to install cameras inside JTVCC.

Read more about the Governor’s DOC plan.

“I look forward to receiving the final report of the Independent Review later this month, and I remain committed to making the necessary, long-term changes to help us improve conditions inside James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and across our correctional system,” said Governor Carney. “Working with members of the General Assembly, we have already made important changes, but there is more work to do. Thank you to the Independent Review team for their continued work on this important issue.”

Governor Carney and the Independent Review team will hold a general media availability on September 1 to discuss the findings of the Independent Review’s final report.

WHAT:        Media availability to discuss final report of DOC Independent Review

WHO:          Governor John Carney
Former Judge William L. Chapman, Jr.
Former U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III

WHEN:       9:30 a.m., Friday, September 1

WHERE:    Governor’s Office, 12th Floor
Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French Street, Wilmington, DE 19801


Governor Carney Announces Plan to Address Recommendations of DOC Independent Review

Plan includes appointment of Special Assistant to lead turnaround, and $2 million investment in cameras at JTVCC

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday released his plan to act on the recommendations of the initial report of the Independent Review into the causes of the February 1 incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

“We should all take this Independent Review seriously,” said Governor Carney. “It’s time to focus on addressing the difficult problems facing our prisons. We cannot let this report collect dust on a shelf. Our plan would take appropriate action to address the review team’s recommendations, and to help enhance safety and security for correctional officers and inmates at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and across Delaware’s correctional system.”

The Governor’s Plan will:

  • Appoint a temporary Special Assistant at the Department of Correction to spearhead reform of management practices, training and cultural turnaround. The position will report to the DOC Commissioner, but produce public reports at six months and a year, with a focus on implementation of the Independent Review’s recommendations.
  • Direct the Delaware State Police and DOC to meet and jointly conduct an after-action review of the February 1 incident to identify any appropriate improvement to incident management protocols and policy.
  • Allocate $2 million to purchase new cameras at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. Funding for the cameras will require approval by the General Assembly.
  • Direct the Delaware Department of Technology & Information to prepare a strategic technology plan for the Department of Correction, and to assume operational responsibility for technology needs across Delaware’s correctional system.
  • Continue Collective Bargaining with the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD) – which began in April – with the goal of increasing base pay for Delaware’s correctional officers and decreasing use of mandatory overtime.
  • Direct to-be-created Department of Human Resources to prepare and implement a staffing plan to eliminate the current shortage of correctional officers. The Department will report on progress every three months until the shortage is eliminated.
  • Recruit a new Bureau Chief of Community Correction with expertise in managing re-entry programs, and reducing recidivism. The new Bureau Chief will work with the Criminal Justice Council to deliver recommendations for improving re-entry programs, and reducing recidivism, to Governor Carney by November 2017.

Governor Carney’s budget proposal also includes investments related to the Independent Review team’s recommendations. His financial plan would increase annual hazardous duty pay for Delaware’s correctional officers, authorize new positions at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and invest in new equipment that will help correctional officers respond to and prevent violent incidents.

“We are committed to addressing the issues facing our correctional system,” said Perry Phelps, Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction. “This plan will help us address the safety and security of our facilities, more effectively recruit and retain correctional officers, and invest in new equipment and technology that will help us operate more safely and efficiently.”

“We know the challenges we face in our prisons and now we have a blueprint for solving them,” said Senator Bruce Ennis, chair of the Senate Corrections & Public Safety Committee. “Now it’s up to the General Assembly to show the political courage to get this done for the brave men and women who put so much on the line to keep our prisons safe and orderly.”

“We need to address these longstanding issues at Delaware’s correctional facilities to better help our dedicated correctional officers and provide them with sustainable quality of life changes. The governor’s plan is multi-faceted and I am optimistic it will help us get to the root cause of these systemic issues. I am also encouraged to see that there is a priority to recruit a Bureau Chief of Community Correction with an expertise in managing re-entry programs,” said Representative James Johnson, chair of the House Corrections Committee. “We need to ensure that history does not repeat itself and we are bolstering our correctional system so the facilities are safe, secure and have the interests of both the inmates and staff in mind.”

“I thank the Governor for ordering this independent review, as well as Commissioner Phelps for taking the necessary steps to lead the Department of Correction. We are taking steps to address these issues in great part thanks to the work of Correctional Officers Association of Delaware members for being responsible and never wavering in advocating for correctional officers,” said Representative Larry Mitchell, vice-chair of the House Corrections Committee. “As vice-chair of Corrections we are going to do what we can to implement the recommendations.”

“I see this initiative as a series of positive strides forward, but this should only be the start of the journey,” said State House Minority Leader Danny Short. “State leaders need to commit to continue reviewing and improving the conditions in our prison system.”

“We have a duty to provide a secure environment inside the correctional system, both for the sake of our dedicated staff and for inmates they supervise,” said State House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson. “The actions announced by the governor constitute a down payment on satisfying that obligation.”

“For me, one of the most disturbing parts of the initial Independent Review were the observations made by the review team about the level of burnout among JTVCC staff, due in large part from the ‘excessive overtime that is being worked.’ I support the Governor’s plan of action and I am especially happy to see the priority that is being placed on the need to increase correctional officers’ base pay, provide additional training, and reduce the use of mandatory overtime,” said Representative Kevin Hensley, who represents the area in which the JTVCC facility is located.


Division of Public Health and Department of Correction Continue TB Response

DOVER – Following the May 9, 2017, announcement that one James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC) inmate was diagnosed with active tuberculosis or TB disease, the Division of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Correction (DOC) have been working closely together in response. DPH will offer free screenings and treatment to former inmates, former employees and visitors to James T. Vaughn who are determined to have been exposed to TB.

While the risk of transmission is low, the medical guidance is that those who have been exposed, and who get infected with the TB bacteria, should be treated so they do not develop TB disease. Consistent with routine Division of Public Health TB elimination protocols, the agency will reach out via letter and phone call to schedule testing of former inmates, former employees and visitors who are considered at potential risk. DOC also has begun screening its JTVCC employees and current inmates who may have been exposed.

TB is generally on the decline throughout the country — with 9,557 cases nationwide in 2015 — but vigilance is important. Delaware had 22 cases of TB disease (also known as “active TB”) in 2015, and 16 in 2016, and 10 to date in 2017. As opposed to the latent kind, TB disease cases are defined as having the symptoms of the illness and potentially being able to spread it to others.

TB is a bacteria that can be inhaled into the lungs of others when a nearby person with the active disease coughs, sneezes, sings or laughs. People with TB disease are most likely to spread the disease to people they spend time with every day, such as family or other household members, close friends, and coworkers. Signs and symptoms of TB may include a progressively worsening cough that lasts more than two weeks, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills, and chest pain. TB can affect any bodily organ, but is infectious to others only when it occurs in the lungs or larynx (voice box).

Most people who are infected with the TB bacteria will have a positive TB test, but will never develop symptoms and cannot spread the disease to other individuals. Only people with TB symptoms can spread the disease. TB is not spread by shaking hands, touching, sharing food or drink, utensils, bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes, or saliva from kissing.

TB disease is treatable and curable, usually by taking several medications for 6 to 9 months. About 5 percent to 10 percent of persons infected with TB bacteria will develop the disease at some time in their lives; most within the first two years after the infection occurs.

In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. The bacteria become inactive, but they remain alive in the body and can become active later. This is called latent TB infection. People with latent TB infection cannot spread TB bacteria to others. People who have latent TB infection can be treated to prevent TB disease from developing.

For medical questions about TB, call the following Public Health clinic in the county where you live:

  • New Castle County: 302-283-7588
  • Kent County: 302-857-5130
  • Sussex County: 302-515-3200

For additional information on tuberculosis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at:

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Governor Carney Reestablishes the Family Services Cabinet Council

Council will help coordinate crucial public and private services for Delaware families

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney signed Executive Order Five on Tuesday, reestablishing the Family Services Cabinet Council to help coordinate public and private services for Delaware families.

Delaware families continue to face significant challenges – including the high cost of child care; violence and poverty in their neighborhoods; the impact of caring for an aging family member; and the challenges of navigating an economy in transition. The Family Services Cabinet Council will be charged with coordinating public and private services that are often fragmented, and proposing changes to current programs to make the delivery of state services more effective.

Governor Carney will serve as chair of the Council.

Reestablishment of the Council, which was first established under Governor Tom Carper, was an action called for by Governor Carney’s Transition Team in their Action Plan for Delaware. The Council also will work closely with the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Board (GEAR), which Governor Carney created this month to identify cost savings and efficiencies in state government, and to more effectively operate state programs and services.

“Our challenge is to determine whether the programs and services we offer are effective in moving families out of poverty, improving our system of education and creating opportunities for all Delaware families to succeed,” said Governor Carney. “That requires all of us – government agencies, nonprofits and private business – to work together. That also requires that we measure our progress. The reestablishment of the Family Services Cabinet Council will help us do just that, and make a meaningful difference in the lives of Delaware families.”

The Council will be tasked with implementing innovative tools and strategies for addressing a series of specific issues, including: breaking the school-to-prison pipeline; improving access to early childhood education; increasing the availability of affordable housing; improving access to substance abuse treatment; reducing recidivism in Delaware’s correctional system; expanding job training opportunities; and reducing violence in Delaware’s neighborhoods.

The Council will include eight members of Governor Carney’s Cabinet – the Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families; the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services; the Secretary of the Department of Education; the Secretary of the Department of Labor; the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security; the Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and the Commissioner of the Department of Correction.

“It is our duty to ensure that our children and our families have the necessary tools to be healthy, prosperous, and safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “The reestablishment of this Council will break down silos in state government and allow for a more collaborative and coordinated approach to address some of the most critical issues we face, so that every Delawarean has a fair shot.”