Fmr. judges tasked with reviewing Del. prison uprising

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Delaware Gov. John Carney has named two former judges to lead an independent review of an uprising at a prison. (WPVI)

Delaware Gov. John Carney has named two former judges to lead an independent review of an uprising at a prison where four Department of Correction staffers were held hostage and one was killed.

They are former Delaware Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely and former Family Court Judge William Chapman Jr.

Officials have said the review will examine the immediate and underlying causes of the inmate uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna earlier this month.

The review will also examine options for how to prevent this from happening again.

"Anything that affected the security arrangements there at C Building on that particular day will be the primary focus," said Gov. Carney.

"It gives some latitude to Justice Ridgely and Judge Chapman, with respect to other things that may have come into play. I don't want to pre-judge it in any kind of way. Obviously that's the purpose of an independent review," Carney continued.
Administration officials said the review will start after the completion of a state police criminal investigation into the death of Lt. Steven Floyd, so as to not interfere with that probe.

Meanwhile, the Department of Correction also is conducting its own internal investigation.

Union president Geoff Klopp says changes need to happen soon.

"We have to make some immediate changes within the next two to three weeks. My phone blows up, guys are ready to leave and find other employment," he said.

Since then he confirmed 17 Delaware corrections officers and prison employees have quit or retired.

"The fact Lt. Steven Floyd had to be murdered for us to get here to try and make some change, I can understand people feeling that way," he said.

We also spoke with Rev. Christopher Bullock, who is the Chairman of the Delaware Coalition of Prison Reform and Justice.

He says the governor's independent investigation is nothing more than the state investigating the state and that won't bring change.

"I'd like to see a five to 10 to 15 year vision for an overhaul in Delaware prison system," Bullock said.

Findings from the investigation are expected to be presented on June 1.

But both Klopp and Bullock both say something needs to change before more corrections officers walk off the job and conditions in the prisons continue to deteriorate.
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