Carney offers plan in response to Vaughn prison hostage incident

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Gov. John Carney proposed spending $2 million on surveillance equipment and hiring a special assistant to spearhead reforms as part of a plan to deal with the conditions at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

On Tuesday Carney released the plan to acton the recommendations of theinitial reportof the Independent Review into the causes of the February 1 hostage incident at Vaughn that led to the slaying of a correctional officer.

The plan calls for the following:

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  • Appoint a temporarySpecial Assistantat 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 the implementation of the Independent Review’s recommendations.
  • Direct the Delaware State Police and corrections to meet and jointly conduct anafter-action reviewof the February 1 incident to identify any appropriate improvement to incident management protocols and policy.
  • Spend $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 astrategic 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 ofincreasing base pay for Delaware’s correctional officers anddecreasing use of mandatory overtime.
  • Direct to-be-created Department of Human Resources to prepare and implement a staffing plan toeliminate the current shortage of correctional officers. The department will report on progress every three months until the shortage is eliminated.
  • Recruit a newBureau Chief of Community Corrections 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.

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.

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