Former Connections staffer convicted of lying to police about checking on inmate who later died


The Delaware Department of Justice’s Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust secured two misdemeanor convictions against a former employee of Connections.

Connections had served as the Delaware Department of Correction medical contractor. 

“Delawareans deserve integrity from every publicly paid professional, including contractors who lie about their official acts,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Lying to the public is always unacceptable – particularly when it deals with something as sensitive as inmate medical care. In this case, it was also criminal. This is a victory for honesty in public service, and I’m grateful to the prosecutors and police who made it possible.”

The case stems from death on the morning of Oct. 8, 2018. At that time, Delaware State Police were called to the  Sussex Correctional Institute regarding an inmate pronounced dead.

While foul play was ultimately ruled out, the investigation revealed repeated discrepancies in claims made by Erin Clark-Penland, who worked as a nurse at the facility. Clark-Penland claimed to investigators that she had seen the inmate the previous night and even entered that claim in official medical logs. However, video surveillance and witness testimony showed that both claims were not true.

Following a later review, the case was brought before a grand jury on June 23, 2020, and secured indictments for Falsifying Business Records and Providing a False Statement to Law Enforcement. A Sussex County jury found Clark-Penland guilty as charged Monday following a one-day trial.

Deputy Attorney General David Skoranski secured the conviction following an investigation by Det. Lindsay Coleman of Delaware State Police. Clark-Penland will be sentenced by a Superior Court judge on a date to be determined.

Her convictions carry a maximum prison sentence of two years.

Connections later lost the state contract for inmate care and were in the news this week when a settlement was announced with the federal government over billing.

Connections filed for bankruptcy with operations taken over by other providers. A federal investigation of a former executive of the organization is ongoing.

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