The gist of this article is about increased personnel at the prisons. For all of the talk about reducing mass incarceration, faaaaar too little has changed in the past 10 years. We need to see much more solid, concrete improvements, in inmate training and education programs (the BEST) way to reduce recidivism, and real help for those in reentry!
That chronic liar, Geoff Klopp, head of the prison guards’ union, blames all of the woes (wrongdoing!) in the prison on “under staffing”, as he spins all sorts of lies to cover up the continuing abuses. But the truth is that when new hires see all the wrongdoing, and the entrenched system of covering it up – READ : Culture of Cover Up! – those new hires quit in droves, they are so disgusted. We need much better training for new hires, to make them humane and motivated to report their peers’ wrongdoing! Along those lines, READ Why Only Prosecution Will Stop Prison Abuse!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Delaware Department of Correction hopes to cut its correctional officer vacancies to about 40 by the end of next year, the lowest level in at least a decade. Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis, who was confirmed to the post in June, offered an overview of the agency Thursday in its preliminary budget hearing. Speaking to officials from the Office of Management and Budget, Ms. DeMatteis said the agency is making progress in improving the environment and staffing levels.
The Department of Correction, which has been understaffed for years, entered the spotlight in February 2017 after an inmate uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center left one guard dead. In the aftermath, advocates stumped for higher salaries and better conditions in the state’s prisons, while decision-makers pledged to make changes to prevent another rebellion.
Counting a class of 21 cadets who will graduate today as correctional officers, the agency currently has 145 unfilled positions, Ms. DeMatteis said — a vacancy rate of about 10 percent. According to her, the department has gained 94 rank and file correctional officers since July 1, 2018.
About 200 applications are submitted to the state monthly, she said, although that’s a fraction of what it was just five years ago.
November 2014 saw more than 1,400 applications sent in, with almost 750 coming the following November. One year later — eight months after the riot — it was down to about 300.
Since the uprising, the state has raised starting salaries for COs from about $35,200 to $43,000. The job remains unappealing for some, however, due to long hours and the stress that comes with it.
But many feel steps forward are being made — including Correctional Officers Association of Delaware President Geoff Klopp, who praised state officials Thursday for their work.
The department’s budget for the current year totals about $343 million, up by $48 million from three years ago.
For the fiscal year starting July 1, Ms. DeMatteis requested an additional $9.7 million in operating funds. Those needs, she told budget officials, can largely be classified one of six ways: safety, equipment, technology, offender re-entry support, staffing levels and staff training.
She is also seeking $58.4 million in capital funding, which would represent an increase of more than 400 percent over the current year. Those dollars would primarily go to maintaining or adding to various department facilities, as well as upgrading radios, sprinklers and security cameras.
Ms. DeMatteis was proud to note the state hopes to get Vaughn accredited by the American Correctional Association soon. It is currently the only one of the state’s prisons that does not have that designation.
“It is the gold standard for a correctional facility,” she said of being accredited. “It is the gold standard. It doesn’t give you any money, it doesn’t do anything other than tell the public” the prison has received a sterling grade.
Thursday marked the final day of preliminary budget hearings. Gov. John Carney will unveil his spending recommendations in two months, which lawmakers will use as a base as they craft a plan. The General Assembly, which reconvenes in January, has until the end of June to approve a budget.