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Monday, January 28, 2013

Delaware Complies with Prison Reforms

Jan. 1st 2013, From: WBOC:

DOVER, Del. - The U.S. Justice Department says the state of Delaware has instituted reforms at its state prisons and the U.S. is terminating an amended memorandum of agreement.
The DOJ said Monday that reforms at the three state prisons include improvements in mental health care, medical care and suicide prevention. Delaware established the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services, which designed and implemented a continuous quality improvement program which is used as a model by other states and municipalities.
The department and Delaware entered into the original agreement in 2006 to resolve the department's findings of unlawful conditions at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution and the Sussex Correctional Institution.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Prisoner's Right's

People do not entirely give up their constitutional and human rights when they are incarcerated.  When the State places people under its own custody, it becomes responsible for ensuring that their rights are respected.  Prisoners have limited but important rights to send and receive mail and reading material; to access the courts; to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs; to fair notice and an opportunity to be heard during disciplinary proceedings; to health care, a safe environment, and exercise; to marry and divorce; and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, including assault from guards and other prisoners, among other things.  In general, the State may only limit these rights when it has a “legitimate penological interest” to do so.  
This is from Delaware's ACLU website.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rogue Force in Delaware´s prisons

The report Rogue Force, written by investigative journalist Lee Williams, gives detailed insight into the abuse, the force, the medical neglect that is rampant in Delaware´s prisons.

Here follow links to the chapters:


Retaliation begins against 42 inmate whistleblowers at SCI After 42 inmates at the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown came forward telling state officials they witnessed an unprovoked assault by three guards on one inmate - an attack which they say was started by the guards - retaliation has begun against the whistleblowers.
More than 40 inmates document unprovoked attack on inmate by guards at SCI Witnesses ask Attorney General Beau Biden, Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg, ACLU, NAACP to protect them from abuse and retaliation.
Attorney General Beau Biden's Office trying to silence prison critic As Attorney General Beau Biden was being welcomed home Wednesday from a one-year tour in Iraq at a ceremony in Dover, his office was busy working damage control, trying to contain the ever-widening prison scandal and silence its critics.
Abuse of Power Continues in Delaware's Prison System Gianfranco Carta suffers intense pain, nightmares and crippling anxiety attacks from the treatment he received Sept. 29 during an overnight stay at the Sussex Correctional Institution.
AG's Office calls off its second attempt to curb Free Speech Attorney General Beau Biden's Office balked, the second time in as many weeks, in its latest attempt to restrict the First Amendment rights of a well-respected Department of Correction critic.
Monitoring Agreement between Joshua Martin and the State of Delaware.
Letter to the U.S. Department of Justice As revealed by the previous U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) investigation that led to the 2006 Memorandum of Agreement, Delaware officials have a disappointing record of effectively investigating prison system abuses. For the many reasons delineated in this letter, we respectfully ask that the U.S. Department of Justice reopen its investigation of Delaware's efforts to provide adequate healthcare to its prison population, including the reported neglect that led to the loss of Mr. Sudler's legs and Mr. Kern's life. We further urge the USDOJ to launch an additional probe into the charges of abuse at SCI.
Joint hearings shows how Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, who chairs the Senate's Adult and Juvenile Corrections Committee, proposed to hold joint hearings with the House Corrections Committee, to investigate allegations of inmate abuse and shoddy medical care revealed in CRI's special report "Rogue Force."
Lawmakers appeal for federal investigation of state's prison system Six state legislators have asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate shoddy inmate medical care and criminal allegations of abuse and neglect in Delaware's prison system. The lawmakers based their two-pronged request on a series of reports the Caesar Rodney Institute launched seven weeks ago, which revealed allegations of abuse by corrections officers at the Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) and medical neglect throughout the system.
Letter To All Public Officials , Sen. Bonini, R-Dover South, calls for a special prosecutor, the empaneling of an investigative grand jury, new legislation and investigations into the problems revealed in "Rogue Force."
"Always and forever your son, Daniel" examines the Sept. 15 death of Daniel Kern, who died from an illness that should have been easy to diagnose and treat. Kern had complained of severe abdominal pain for months, but the Department of Correction did little more than watch him die. Kern's family says he was denied care by the Department of Correction because he was gay.
Circling the Wagons reveals how the state is not addressing issues of abuse and poor medical care in the prison system.
Prison monitor says state not in compliance The Delaware Department of Correction will not meet its deadline to improve inmate health care before the Memorandum of Agreement with the US Department of Justice expires at the end of the year.
Rogue Force reveals how guards at the Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) in Georgetown are physically abusing inmates in their care. This story shows how the Department of Correction often fails to investigate or even track excessive force by prison guards, and how Delaware taxpayers ultimately bear the brunt of this misconduct.
Beaten and Released tells the story of Laurel small businessman David Sully, who claims guards at SCI nearly beat him to death in June.
Violating the Agreement reveals how the state is breaking its promise with the U.S. Justice Department to improve inmate medical care, after federal prison regulators determined that this poor quality medical care was violating the civil rights of state inmates. The state is not providing training required in the settlement agreement.
Lawmaker calls for hearings, criminal probe of CMS One lawmaker is proposing changes to the system to insure Kern's death is not repeated. He also wants someone held accountable for the death. Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, has already sent letters to state officials calling for a special prosecutor, the empanelling of an investigative grand jury, investigations, audits and new legislation as a result of the findings presented in "Rogue Force."
The Man with No Legs tells the story of Benjamin Sudler, whose legs were amputated because his diabetes was neither treated nor monitored by the prison's medical staff.
Solutions offers one nationally-known prison expert's suggestions on how the state can fix its prison system, along with recommendations from the Caesar Rodney Institute.
Monitoring the Monitor shows how the state is concealing the costs of its prison monitor, and questions the efficacy of the system.
An Open Letter To Carl Danberg poses 32 questions it had hoped the Correction Commissioner would answer. Danberg refused to comment for this series.
About this Report

About the report Rogue Force, by Lee Williams

Caesar Rodney Institute investigative reporter/media director Lee Williams wrote the special report “Rogue
Force.”

For this series, Williams conducted dozens of interviews across the state, and reviewed hundreds of pages of
official documents.
He has been writing about conditions of confinement in Delaware for years.

Williams is the former investigative reporter for The News Journal. His more than 150 stories about the Delaware Psychiatric Center led to numerous states probes of the trouble-plagued institution, spawned the
ongoing civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, and were recognized with the national Public Service Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors.

In 2005, along with News Journal reporter Esteban Parra, Williams wrote a series of stories for the newspaper that focused on the Department of Correction’s flawed health care system. This series also led to a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. The settlement agreement between the DOC and the federal government, in which the state promised to improve medical care, is a direct result of the federal probe.

Williams has worked as an investigative reporter for three daily newspapers, in two states and a U.S.
Territory.

CRI Public Policy Director Garrett Wozniak and CRI Fellows Jason Patterson and J. Danny Hill
contributed to this series.

Contact investigative reporter Lee Williams at (302) 242-9272 or lee@caesarrodney.org
The Caesar Rodney Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan research and educational organization and is
committed to being a catalyst for improved performance, accountability, and efficiency in Delaware
government.

© Copyright 2009 by the Caesar Rodney Institute

An open letter to Carl Danberg

Source: Special Report of the Caesar Rodney Institute 
By Lee Williams

Delaware Department of Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg has not complied with a FOIA
request and refused to comment for this series. Therefore, the Caesar Rodney Institute poses the
following questions it had hoped Danberg would address:

1. Why are there rogue guards at the Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) who are physically abusing
inmates?

2. How many taxpayer dollars has the state paid to inmates or their survivors because of civil suits spawned
by abuse by guards, since you were sworn in as commissioner?

3. Why is the Department of Correction’s inmate health care so far below generally accepted medical
standards?

4. How many taxpayer dollars has the state paid to inmates or their survivors because of civil suits spawned
by your department’s poor-quality inmate health care, since you were sworn in as commissioner?

5. Why haven’t you fired the DOC’s current medical vendor Correctional Medical Services?

6. Why does SCI have a reputation as a facility where inmates are abused by guards?

7. Why do guards admit there are cover-ups at SCI involving use of force?

8. Why does SCI have a reputation for using more pepper spray than other facilities?

9. Why do guards at SCI say they’re free to use pepper spray on inmates with no subsequent use-of-force
review?

10. Why haven’t your guards received the mental health training – training in how to spot an inmate who is
suffering from mental illness – which you promised to provide when you signed the settlement agreement
with the U.S. Department of Justice?

11. Why haven’t your guards received training in how to recognize and deal with inmates who may be
withdrawing from drugs or alcohol – training you promised to provide when you signed the settlement
agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice?

12. Why haven’t your guards received training in suicide prevention – training you promised to provide
when you signed the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice?

13. Why was David Sully beaten so severely by your guards at SCI on June 27?

14. What could Mr. Sully have done to merit this type of beating?

15. Are your guards permitted to deliver repeated, closed-fist blows to the face and head?

16. As an experienced attorney and the former Attorney General of the State of Delaware, wouldn’t you
agree that a guard using a closed fist to strike an inmate who is not actively fighting a guard or another
person is using unlawful force not justified under Section 468(5) of Delaware’s Criminal Code governing the
use of force by wardens and guards and is therefore actionable under Delaware’s criminal statutes as well as
in our civil courts?

17. Is the use of closed fist strikes to the head and/or face ever justifiable for the purpose of simply enforcing
prison rules where self defense or defense of others is not an issue?

18. Why do guards at SCI say they’re able to pepper-spray inmates who refuse to be quiet?

19. Why would guards at SCI say there is no administrative review after they use pepper spray on inmates?

20. Why would a registered nurse who worked at SCI say she personally observed physical injuries on
inmates – on average of twice a month – that the inmates told her were caused by your guards?

21. Why do your guards say there are no basic use-of-force guidelines in place at SCI?

22. Why would your guards say there is a “blue wall of silence” at SCI, whereby guards are afraid to come
forward and report their colleagues who abuse inmates?

23. Why did the Delaware Prison Monitor say in his January 2009 report that his is “still concerned over a
lack of stable and effective leadership” by the vendor providing medical care in your prisons – Correctional
Medical Services (CMS)?

24. Are you satisfied with CMS’ performance?

25. Do you read the letters sent to your office by inmates and their families, complaining of poor medical
care, beatings by guards and the outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria at the Gander Hill prison?

26. Why haven’t you requested an outside agency like the FBI to investigate inmate abuse by guards at SCI?

27. Why does Delaware have to rely on trial attorneys and lawsuits to enforce policies within your
department?

28. How much has the State of Delaware and/or the Department of Corrections paid to Delaware Prison
Monitor Joshua Martin?

29. What specific actions have you and/or your staff taken to proactively address the issues in the monitor’s
reports?

30. Why hasn’t the Council On Correction taken a more active role in assuring compliance with the
memorandum of agreement?
31. Is the Council On Correction even aware of the alleged abuse at SCI?

32. Is it time to consolidate adult corrections with juvenile corrections under a single cabinet post, so as to
ensure a higher level of attention from the Governor and the General Assembly?

Contact investigative reporter Lee Williams at (302) 242-9272 or lee@caesarrodney.org

The Caesar Rodney Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan research and educational organization and is
committed to being a catalyst for improved performance, accountability, and efficiency in Delaware
government.

© Copyright 2009 by the Caesar Rodney Institute