Delaware is failing to protect incarcerated people from COVID-19. Ask Claire DeMatteis to take action NOW.
TAKE ACTION NOW
As COVID-19 outbreaks in Delaware surge, our correctional facilities are seeing a significant rise in confirmed cases. The Department of Correction's (DOC) mitigation efforts have not been enough to prevent outbreaks of the deadly virus, which has already taken the lives of seven incarcerated individuals.
On July 10, the DOC reported that 288 incarcerated people and 118 correctional and contract staff had tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic. On July 13, the DOC reported that after testing all incarcerated people at Sussex Correctional Institute (SCI), one-third or 303 incarcerated people had tested positive. While DOC has now tested all SCI prisoners and provided them personal protection equipment (PPE) such as face masks, it is unfortunate that this has only come after an outbreak in the prison. DOC must take immediate action now to ensure all people incarcerated in its facilities have continuous access to PPE, social distancing measures, and universally-available testing.
It's not too late for the DOC and the state to change course and proactively confront the public health crisis in our correctional facilities by:
- Making testing universally available to every incarcerated person and employee in every facility;
- Providing proper PPE to all people living in DOC facilities across the state and allow for new PPE to be available when it is needed; and
- Immediately releasing those most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and those within six months of the end of their sentence, where there is little to no risk to public safety.
Delaware Department of Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis