SMYRNA Delaware- The Correctional Officers Association of Delaware says on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at around 9:30 a.m, inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna were yelling and threatening staff members during morning showers.
One inmate in particular was unruly and reportedly shouting again and again that he was going to kill all of the officers, the news release said. When ordered into his cell, the inmate threw his belongings into the cell and said, “I’m taking one of you with me.” The inmate then braced his arms against the door to prevent from being secured. When Officers went to secure the inmate, he turned suddenly and punched an Officer in the face, causing injury. The inmate actively assaulted two Officers during the attack. The inmate continued to fight and assault the Officers until assistance arrived. Once secured, the inmate was removed from the area. At the time of this release, one of the Officers involved suffered a laceration on his nose, a laceration on his forehead and bruising around one of his eyes. The other correctional officers were not injured. Six days after the riot, assaults on staff continue, staff says.
COAD President, Geoff Klopp said, “On August 31, 2016, then-Commissioner Coupe signed an agreement with the ACLU/CLASI, which – in effect – turned control of the facilities over to the inmates and their mental health advocates. This deal – approved by Commissioner Coupe and Attorney General Matt Denn – places mental health workers between the inmates and the Officers, usually to the detriment of the Officer. Repeated incidents where an officer directs an inmate to do something only to have mental health advocates instruct the inmate not to comply occur all too often. This agreement is another huge factor in the lack of control within our facilities. Commissioner Coupe and Attorney General Denn hamstrung the Correctional Officers from maintaining order in the facilities and protecting themselves. As long as this agreement is in place, inmates will continue to disrespect and assault – or worse – our Officers. This has to stop!”
The Correctional Officers Association of Delaware says the ACLU/CLASI agreement signed off by Coupe and Denn has also resulted in a shortage of space for the more dangerous inmates as well as limited the sanctions that can be imposed when an inmate is non-compliant with reasonable officer instructions or housing area rules.
Sgt. Steven R. Floyd, a 16-year veteran of the Delaware Department of Correction, was found dead last week following a day-long hostage standoff that was ended when police breached the building and rescued a female staff member who was not injured.