Gov. John Carney released on Friday the preliminary report surrounding circumstances of the Feb. 1 uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, where a prison guard was murdered.
The report, on the independent review of the prison takeover, was led by former Delaware family court judge William Chapman and former U.S. attorney Charles Oberly. Interviews from inmates and Department of Corrections staffers were used for the report.
During a media teleconference late Friday, Oberly said one of the things that stood out from the research was Vaughn is still plagued with similar problems that were mentioned in a report 12 years ago.
The former U.S. attorney said those from then to now include “dealing with inexperienced guards being in dangerous places, shortage of correctional officers, flexible hours, the need for additional staffing [and] blind spots for cameras.”
There also remains a problem with the wages of correctional officers.
“It’s quite concerning that if you go back to the 2005 report, you see that starting salaries starts about $29,500,” Oberly said. “Now we’re almost 13 years later, starting salary’s raised 10 percent.
“In that same period of time, the amount of overtime for correctional people has gone from approximately $10 million to almost $40 million” and “[that] overtime costs the state almost 400 percent.”
From interviewing inmates, Oberly said he often heard them say “they want want consistency in the enforcement of the rules,” so that prisoners will “know day to day what we can do [and] what we can’t do.”
Additionally, the former U.S. attorney said inmates and correctional offers agreed that more programs need to be available for prisoners. This would help to make the facility safer, because “idleness is a major problem,” Oberly said.
Despite some issues between individual guards and inmates, Chapman said he appreciated the level of respect some of the prisoners showed correctional officers.
“I think that’s something that was refreshing to see,” he said.
The final report of the independent review of the prison takeover is due Aug. 15.