Correctional Officers Association of Delaware Response to Vaughn Correctional Procedure Review

September 3, 2017

Correctional Officers Association of Delaware
September 1, 2017

Today, the Governor received the Independent Review of Security Procedures at Vaughn Correctional Center and while the report is lengthy, there appears little new in the analysis. Geoff Klopp, President of the COAD, commented on the report as follows:

“I’d like to thank Mr. Oberly and Mr. Chapman for a careful attempt to analyze this situation. The report has some meritorious comments – but it fails totally to address the real issues.

This report has the potential to go the way of The Minner Report and the later reviews by the Minner-Carney administration. The report is a nice exercise, but nothing substantial will change because of it.

The fact remains that the Attorney General remains unable or unwilling to bring the murderers of Sgt. Floyd (promoted to Lt. after his death) to justice. This “blue ribbon panel” is just that – an attempt to dress up a horrible murder which could have and should have been prevented – in a nice package with a pretty little bow. The report misses one critical part: the human element. Until the political leaders of our State decide to pay correctional officers a fair, decent, liveable wage commensurate with the job we do, we will never have sufficient staffing to house the offenders those same political leaders send us with mandatory sentences. Here’s the bottom line. This report does not address why Officer Floyd died. He died because of the conscious decisions by politicians who believed it is cheaper to pay overtime and hire fewer staff than it is to properly hire sufficient numbers of officers to provide real, meaningful recruitment, retention and compensation for correctional officers. Mr. Oberly and Mr. Chapman miss one key point: Floyd was murdered because there weren’t enough officers to prevent it.

And the State had entered into an agreement with the ACLU and CLASI that led to impossible classification systems of inmates. The decisions which caused this murder were made by Governors Carper, Markel, Lt. Governor and now Governor Carney, then-Lt. Gov. and now Attorney General Denn, the leadership of the Department of Corrections and the political leaders of our State. There’s plenty of responsibility for this murder. And no one in a position of power and authority has demonstrated the political will to correct the real issues.

Until the leaders of the State of Delaware commit the financial resources which are necessary to recruit, train and retain qualified officers, and pay us a liveable wage without “freezing” the officers in place for unconscionable overtime hours, this report will accomplish little. The time has come – indeed I think it has passed – to stop moving the deck chairs around the Titanic – and look at why the ship of Corrections is sinking.”

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