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.

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Governor Carney Announces Plan to Address Recommendations of DOC Independent Review
Governor Carney Releases Initial Report of Department of Correction Independent Review


Governor Carney Delivers State of the State Address to Joint Session of the General Assembly

 

Governor lays out plan for strengthening Delaware’s economy, improving public schools and investing in state’s workforce

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney delivered his 2018 State of the State Address on Thursday in the House Chamber at Legislative Hall in Dover, outlining his priorities for strengthening Delaware’s economy, improving Delaware’s public schools, lowering healthcare costs for Delaware businesses and families, improving public safety, and investing in Delaware’s state workforce.

Full text of the speech, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

“We won’t always agree on the solutions, but we can all agree on the goals,” said Governor Carney. “To make our economy stronger. Our healthcare system more effective. Our communities safer. Our state workforce strong and stable. Our children more ready to compete for the future. Working hard and working together, we can and we will get this done.”

Below are highlights from the Governor’s address:

ON EDUCATION:

“Working with you last year, we created the Opportunity Grants program to provide new resources to students who need it most. We reached thousands of students across 13 schools last year. Next week, we will be proposing additional funding for Opportunity Grants that will more than triple the number of schools receiving this support. Schools could use this funding for things like after school programs, reading interventions, or other resources to help students and teachers be successful.”

ON THE BUDGET:

“The budget smoothing task force is considering several good ideas to bring more fiscal discipline to our spending patterns. For the long-term, we need structural spending reform, just as we need structural revenue changes. I want to continue working with the General Assembly – Democrats and Republicans – to do both. And, this is important, we cannot build new ongoing spending on top of one-time revenues. It’s just not responsible, and we can’t allow it, no matter how compelling the cause.”

ON HEALTHCARE:

“Here’s the bottom line. We’re spending too much money on healthcare, and not getting the best results. We all need to come to the table – state government and hospitals most of all – and be part of the solution. The hospitals and other providers have been laying the groundwork for this effort for years. Now it’s time to make the hard decisions, and change the way we deliver healthcare.”

ON THE CITY OF WILMINGTON:

“I firmly believe that the strength of our state lies in the strength of our largest city. But as everyone here knows, we continue to face significant challenges in Wilmington that pose a threat to its long-term success. I’ve called Wilmington home for three decades. Tracey and I raised a family there. And I care deeply about its success. But we all have a stake in helping our city succeed. Its success is closely linked to the success of our state. That’s why, over the past year, Delawareans have seen this administration work with Mayor Purzycki and members of Wilmington City Council to devote unprecedented time and attention to making Wilmington strong again.”

ON WORKPLACE CONDITIONS:

“As part of our focus on improving workplace conditions for state employees, I directed Secretary Johnson to analyze our state’s current sexual harassment policy and training, and to recommend ways to improve it. In the coming weeks we will announce a series of changes to ensure that no state employee is made to feel uncomfortable or threatened at work.”

ON DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION:

“We have been working every day since February 2nd to make our prisons safer, and to address the conditions that contributed to that terrible tragedy. Based on the Independent Review Team’s recommendations, we reached an agreement to increase salaries for Delaware’s correctional officers. We have implemented significant investments in equipment, recruitment, technology and training at the Department of Correction. And we’re installing cameras at James T. Vaughn and other correctional facilities as we speak. I made a commitment that the Independent Review report will not collect dust on a shelf. It has not. And it will not.”

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Full text of the speech, as prepared for delivery, is available here.


Governor Carney Signs Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Plan, Capping General Assembly Session

Session included measures to improve Delaware’s economy, create jobs, reform the Department of Correction, and combat addiction crisis

Highlights of the 2017 legislative session include:

  • Restructuring Economic Development: House Bill 226 restructures the way Delaware attracts good-paying jobs to Delaware and keeps them here, with a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and small business development.

    Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Senator Nicole Poore, Representative Stephanie T. Bolden, Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride, Representative Charles Potter, Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Senator Jack Walsh, Senator Greg Lavelle, Senator Anthony Delcollo, Representative Danny Short, Representative Steve Smyk, and Representative Ronald Gray (not pictured) applaud Governor Carney after the bill signing.
  • Modernizing the Coastal Zone Act: House Bill 190 allows the responsible redevelopment of 14 legacy industrial sites along the Delaware coastline, bolstering Delaware’s economy while paving the way for additional environmental clean-up of those sites.
  • Raising Correctional Officer Pay: The Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes a pay increase for Correctional Officers across experience levels – including a 22 percent increase to starting officer pay that will help Delaware recruit and retain officers and eliminate a staffing shortage.
  • Combatting Delaware’s Addiction Crisis: Senate Bill 41, House Bill 91, and House Bill 100 will expand access to substance abuse treatment, and strengthen oversight of opioid prescriptions. Senate Bill 111 and House Bill 220 will form a Behavioral Health Consortium and an Addiction Action Committee to create an integrated plan around the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and mental health challenges.
  • Creating the Department of Human Resources: House Bill 4 creates a new Department of Human Resources to help confront issues important to state employees. The new agency will promote diversity and inclusion across state government, and help solve a Correctional Officer staffing shortage.
  • Protecting Delawareans from Cybersecurity Threats: House Bill 180 requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach, including requiring additional notifications and free credit monitoring services.

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Sunday night signed a $4.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2018, a plan that balances a nearly $400 million budget shortfall through a nearly equal mix of spending reductions and new revenue, while maintaining funding for key public services.

Governor Carney signed the budget in his Legislative Hall office flanked by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. He also signed a $590 million capital spending plan and a $37.2 million grant-in-aid bill.

“Since January, I have talked to thousands of Delawareans who understand the need for a balanced, long-term budget plan for our state,” said Governor Carney. “The budget I signed tonight makes critical investments in education, healthcare, our environment, and in our correctional system. But going forward, we cannot be complacent. We must do more to put Delaware on a sustainable path forward. With this budget, we are committing to studying real spending reforms, and to improving the way we deliver state services. We also should continue discussing new, creative ways to fund those services through a long-term revenue plan. Thank you to the General Assembly for their work on this budget, and I look forward to continuing our work together.”

 

The budget funds a number of key priorities, including:

  • $24.2 million to fully fund new teachers in Delaware’s classrooms to match enrollment growth.
  • $16 million to fund pay increases for Correctional Officers.
  • $7.8 million to fully fund growth in the Medicaid program for low-income Delawareans, Delawareans with disabilities, and seniors in long-term care.
  • $4.7 million to maintain funding for early childhood education.
  • $2.3 million to authorize new Correctional Officer positions.
  • $1 million to add funding for substance abuse treatment programs.

Savings and other reductions include:

  • $11 million reduction to the Educational Sustainment Fund.
  • $5 million savings by eliminating 200 vacant positions across state agencies.
  • $2 million target savings in employee health costs.
  • $1.6 million reduction by modifying double state share for employee health insurance rates.

Revenue increases include:

  • $116 million: Corporate franchise tax increases
  • $11.6 million: Raise taxes on cigarettes 50 cents per pack, and increase taxes on other tobacco products.
  • $5.2 million: Raise taxes on beer, wine and spirits, including by one penny per beer.
  • $44.7 million: 1% increase in the realty transfer tax.
  • $4.5 million: Across-the-board increases to the filing fees associated with Department of Insurance filings.

 

When Governor Carney signed the budget, he capped a legislative session that included significant action to improve Delaware’s economy, create jobs, reform the Department of Correction, and combat Delaware’s addiction crisis.

“Together with lawmakers of both parties, we have acted to create good-paying jobs, and to make sure our economy works for all Delawareans. We have taken steps to reform our prison system and confront our addiction crisis head on,” said Governor Carney. “We’ve also passed common sense reforms to protect Delawareans from cybersecurity threats, and to close a persistent gender pay gap. Votes taken this session will make a real difference for citizens up and down our great state. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for their hard work and partnership on these important issues.”

 

Additional details:

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FINANCIAL PLAN

Budget Reset Community Conversations: Governor Carney met with thousands of Delawareans from Claymont to Delmar about Delaware’s budget challenges. Hosted by members of the General Assembly, the Governor held ten budget town halls before his budget presentation on March 23, and another ten town halls after presenting his budget plan.

Managing Healthcare Costs: House Joint Resolution 7 authorizes DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker to establish a health care budget benchmark with a growth rate tied to the overall economy of the state. It is the first step in evaluating the total cost of care of health care in the state and a major step in transforming Delaware’s health care system to a more outcome-driven system and away from a system that pays for care based solely on the number of room days, visits, procedures and tests.

DEFAC Panel on Budgeting Practices: House Joint Resolution 8 creates a panel of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council to study and develop a report on Delaware’s historic budgeting practices, the need for reasonable restrictions on the use of budget surpluses, and the benefits of a budget stabilization fund.

Making Government More Efficient: Governor Carney signed Executive Order #4, creating the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Board (GEAR) and committing to a long-term effort to study cost savings, efficiencies and ways to improve the delivery of services across state government. Governor Carney maintained a commitment to responsible spending in his budget and throughout the year, calling for an equal mix of spending reductions and new revenue to confront Delaware’s budget challenges.

Escheat Reform: Senate Bill 13 comprehensively rewrites Delaware’s unclaimed property laws. In an effort to align Delaware’s laws with other states, the legislation retooled all aspects of unclaimed property examinations, voluntary disclosure agreements (VDAs), and compliance.

 

CREATING JOBS

Restructuring Economic Development: House Bill 226 approved Governor Carney’s plan to fundamentally restructure Delaware’s economic development efforts, with a new focus on supporting Delaware’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, and promoting innovation. Governor Carney’s plan includes creation of a public-private partnership, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, to leverage additional resources to help attract employers to Delaware, keep them here, support innovation and develop Delaware’s workforce. On his first full day in office, Governor Carney signed Executive Order #1 to explore a new economic development strategy. Restructuring the state’s economic development efforts, and partnering strategically with the private sector, was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

Modernizing the Coastal Zone Act: House Bill 190 will allow responsible redevelopment of 14 heavy industrial sites in the Coastal Zone Act. The reform will pave the way for new job creation and additional cleanup of legacy industrial sites along Delaware’s coastline. Governor Carney called for a plan to responsibly modify the Coastal Zone Act during his March address to the General Assembly. Revitalizing abandoned industrial sites was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

Expanding Broadband Access: House Bill 189 will accelerate investments in mobile broadband infrastructure, expanding access to high-speed internet for Delawareans and businesses across the state and encouraging innovation. Expanding broadband access was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

 

REFORMING THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

Correctional Officer Pay Increases: The Fiscal Year 2018 budget funds the agreement with the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD) to raise salaries for Delaware’s Correctional Officers – including a 22 percent increase in starting officer pay – to help recruit and retain officers across Delaware’s correctional system.

Adding Correctional Officer Positions: The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget authorizes and funds 50 additional Correctional Officers at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and 25 additional officers at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution.

Investing in Equipment and Training: The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget invests $2 million in new cameras at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and $1.3 million in new equipment and training that will help Correctional Officers better prevent and respond to violent incidents.

Special Assistant: Governor Carney appointed Claire DeMatteis – a former senior counsel to then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden – as a temporary Special Assistant to the Governor at the Delaware Department of Correction. DeMatteis will focus her efforts on reform of management practices and training, cultural turnaround, and implementation of Governor Carney’s plan following the Independent Review into the causes of the February 1 incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Improving Re-Entry Programs, Reducing Recidivism: Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps hired Jim Elder – the Director of Clinical Services for Re-entry Programming at the Wilmington HOPE Commission – to lead DOC’s efforts to help offenders successfully re-enter their communities, and reduce Delaware’s rate of recidivism. The selection of Elder will place a new emphasis inside the agency on re-entry programming and efforts to reduce recidivism.

 

COMBATTING DELAWARE’S ADDICTION CRISIS

Expanding Treatment, Strengthening Regulation: Senate Bill 41, House Bill 91, and House Bill 100, a bipartisan package of legislation, will expand access to substance abuse treatment, strengthen oversight of opioid prescriptions, and combat Delaware’s addiction crisis. Governor Carney signed the legislation during a ceremony that included remarks from Attorney General Matt Denn, members of the General Assembly, and Delaware advocates for improved access to substance abuse treatment – including families who have lost loved ones to Delaware’s opioid epidemic.

Behavioral Health Consortium: Senate Bill 111 and House Bill 220 will further combat Delaware’s addiction epidemic and improve services for those suffering from mental illness. The legislation will lead to the creation of a Behavioral Health Consortium and an Addiction Action Committee that will form an integrated plan and blueprint for action for the prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders in Delaware. The creation of the consortium and coordinated plan was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

 

STANDING UP FOR DELAWAREANS

Creating the Department of Human Resources: House Bill 4 creates a new Department of Human Resources to help confront issues important to state employees. The new agency will promote diversity and inclusion across state government, and help solve a Correctional Officer staffing shortage. Creating a new Human Resources agency was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

Confronting the Gender Pay Gap: House Bill 1 will prevent employers from requesting the salary history of job applicants and will help close the pay gap between men and women. The bipartisan legislation – which takes effect in December – also explicitly prohibits employers from screening applicants based on previous compensation history.

Protecting Delawareans from Cybersecurity Threats: House Bill 180 requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach, including additional notifications and free credit monitoring services.

Artificial Island: Senate Joint Resolution 2 urges the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to accept either of PJM’s alternative cost allocation methodologies for funding the Artificial Island transmission line project. As currently funded, Delmarva Peninsula ratepayers would fund more than 90 percent of the cost of the project through higher electric bills, while receiving few direct benefits. Under PJM’s alternative methods for cost allocation, Delmarva ratepayers would fund approximately 7-10 percent of the project costs. Governor Carney has consistently worked with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to urge a more fair resolution for Delmarva ratepayers.

Offering Delawareans a Second Chance: Senate Bill 54 allows Delawareans with juvenile records to petition Delaware’s judicial system for expungement, removing barriers to additional education and employment.

Redeveloping Blighted Properties: House Bill 187 and House Bill 188 hold property owners of blighted properties accountable, requiring them to clean up their properties and pay back taxes before bidding on additional properties, and ensuring that taxpayers do not bear costs created by abandonment.

 

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For details on all of the legislation that Governor Carney has signed into law to date, visit the Legislative Advisories page on the Governor’s website.


Commissioner Phelps Announces Selection to Lead Re-Entry Programs, Reduce Recidivism

Jim Elder, new Bureau Chief of Community Corrections, oversees re-entry programs at the Wilmington HOPE Commission

DOVER, Del. – Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps on Thursday announced the selection of Jim Elder – the Director of Clinical Services for Re-entry Programming at the Wilmington HOPE Commission – to lead DOC’s efforts to help offenders successfully re-enter their communities, and reduce Delaware’s rate of recidivism.

As DOC’s Bureau Chief of Community Correction, Elder also will oversee mental health and substance abuse treatment programs for individuals under community supervision and in Level 4 correctional facilities.

“We have a responsibility to rehabilitate and treat the offenders who enter our custody,” said Commissioner Phelps. “I trust Jim’s experience and education will improve our current programs while also reducing recidivism in the long term. I look forward to working with him to return the men and women in our custody to the community better prepared to find success.”

The selection of Elder will place a new emphasis inside the agency on re-entry programming and efforts to reduce recidivism. The Bureau of Community Corrections oversees probation and parole, pretrial services, the community work release program and other supervision programs.

“We all have a stake in making sure that offenders successfully re-enter society, and have the opportunity to meaningfully contribute,” said Governor Carney. “It’s also imperative that we do everything we can to reduce our recidivism rate – to make sure that fewer Delawareans who spend time in our correctional system go on to re-offend. That’s a critical part of keeping our prisons safe, and reducing our prison population.”

Selection of a Bureau Chief of Community Correction with experience in re-entry programming was a crucial element of Governor Carney’s plan to reform the Department of Correction, following the Independent Review into the causes of the February 1 incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Governor Carney on Wednesday announced the appointment of a Special Assistant at the Department of Correction who will focus on reform of management practices and training, and cultural turnaround – and report publicly on the state’s progress in implementing the Independent Review’s recommendations.

Last week, Governor Carney and the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware announced an agreement to raise salaries for Delaware’s correctional officers – including a 22 percent increase to starting officer pay. The agreement, which includes establishment of a Labor-Management committee to study additional staffing issues, will help the state recruit and retain officers across Delaware’s correctional system.

Governor Carney’s DOC plan also includes:

  • Investing $2 million in new cameras and authorizing 50 additional correctional officer positions at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center;
  • Investing $1.3 million in new equipment and training for correctional officers;
  • Directing the Delaware State Police and the Department of Correction to jointly conduct an after-action review of the February 1 incident;
  • And directing the to-be-created Department of Human Resources to implement a comprehensive staffing plan that eliminates the shortage of correctional officers.

Elder has an extensive clinical background in substance abuse treatment and mental health programming. He is currently the Director of Clinical Services for Re-entry Programming at the Wilmington HOPE Commission.

Elder is a Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH), a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDP), a board Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state of Delaware and a National Certified Counselor (NCC) under authority of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). He has worked in the correctional treatment field for 20 years in Delaware, across the country and abroad.

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland College Park and a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling from Wilmington College.

Elder will begin work July 3.

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Related news:
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


Governor Carney Announces Appointment of Special Assistant at Department of Correction

Claire DeMatteis, former senior counsel to U.S. Senator Joe Biden, will lead implementation of DOC plan

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday announced his appointment of Claire DeMatteis – a former senior counsel to then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden – as a temporary Special Assistant to the Governor at the Delaware Department of Correction.

DeMatteis will focus her efforts on reform of management practices and training, cultural turnaround, and implementation of Governor Carney’s plan following the Independent Review into the causes of the February 1 incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. She will work alongside Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps, and report to Governor Carney on implementation of the plan. DeMatteis, a Delaware attorney, also will issue publicly-available reports – at six months and one year after her appointment – that detail the state’s progress in implementing the Independent Review’s recommendations.

“We’re serious about getting this right. Claire is tough, she is independent-minded, and she has the judgement and credibility necessary to work alongside Commissioner Phelps and help us make real change,” said Governor Carney. “Her experience inside and outside of government will serve our state well. She is a skilled lawyer who knows how to execute on a plan, and hold people accountable. I’m confident that Claire is the right person for the job.”

“We owe it to the correctional officers, inmates and citizens of Delaware to get this right and resolve past deficiencies,” said DeMatteis. “We have a clear road map and mandate to make the needed changes.”

DeMatteis will help ensure that Commissioner Phelps can seamlessly continue to lead agency operations, while the two work together to implement reforms that the Governor and Commissioner have prioritized.

“I look forward to working closely with Claire to directly confront many of the issues facing our correctional system,” said Commissioner Phelps. “Her experience in government, and in the private sector, will help us put management practices into place that will make a real difference over the long-term.”

Appointment of a Special Assistant was a crucial element of Governor Carney’s plan to reform the Department of Correction.

Last week, Governor Carney and the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware announced an agreement to raise salaries for Delaware’s correctional officers – including a 22 percent increase to starting officer pay. The agreement, which includes establishment of a Labor-Management committee to study additional staffing issues, will help the state recruit and retain officers across Delaware’s correctional system.

Governor Carney’s DOC plan also includes:

  • Investing $2 million in new cameras and authorizing 50 additional correctional officer positions at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center;
  • Investing $1.3 million in new equipment and training for correctional officers;
  • Appointing a new Bureau Chief of Community Correction with expertise in managing re-entry programs and reducing recidivism;
  • Directing the Delaware State Police and the Department of Correction to jointly conduct an after-action review of the February 1 incident;
  • And directing the to-be-created Department of Human Resources to implement a comprehensive staffing plan that eliminates the shortage of correctional officers.

DeMatteis, who will begin work in July, has a diverse professional background in government, corporate governance and healthcare.

From 2013-2016, DeMatteis worked as general counsel and senior vice president at Affinity Health Plan Inc., where she was responsible for all legal, regulatory and compliance matters for the $1.4 billion corporation. She worked in a similar role as executive vice president, general counsel, and chief privacy officer for Catalina Marketing Corporation, a digital media marketing company.

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

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Related news:
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