Carney says he hopes to demonstrate that they value correctional officers

Carney says he hopes to demonstrate...

DOVER, Del. - Thursday Governor John Carney (D) said he hopes to demonstrate that the state values the work correctional officers do in the coming months.

Since the fatal hostage situation in Smyrna tensions inside of Delaware prisons have remained high. 

Earlier this week a correctional officer was struck in the face at Sussex Correctional Institution marking the second attack on a Department of Corrections officer since the hostage situation.

On Tuesday Carney announced an independent investigation into the hostage situation had been launched, but the preliminary results won't be ready until June 1.

When Carney was asked what was being done in the interim to ensure the safety of the DOC employees he acknowledged the dangerous work atmosphere and said he's been meeting with correctional officers and their families.

"What I try to do is communicate to the correctional officers is this, that the work that they do we value and we're going to try to demonstrate that value through things that we're to do over the next several months," Carney said. 

Carney added that he believes the independent investigation will "help tease out some of these things" out that the state plans to do, but he also said there have been difficulties in the process.

"What's discouraging to me is folks that are using this incident in way for them to promote their own individual agendas and that makes it more difficult to sort out what the actual causes were and how can we improve safety conditions in the prisons, how we can show corrections officers and corrections employees that we value what they do," Carney said.

Although 47 ABC did not have time to ask who the governor was referring to as promoting their own agenda,  an email was sent to his spokesperson asking for clarification.

In response we received this:

"The governor believes all our focus should be on determining exactly what happened inside Vaughn Correctional Center, and making our correctional facilities as secure and safe as possible for employees and inmates. That's why he launched the independent review earlier this week."

Earlier this week the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware released this statement:

"Inmates continue to refuse to follow legitimate instructions from Correctional Officers.  Threats, taunts and assaults are a daily way of life in our prisons.  It is as if the events of the past two weeks never occurred.  The response thus far to these horrible events has been lacking.  What will it take?  Press conferences and special commissions don't address the needs of the day.  Our Officers are not safe in the prisons of our state. Period.  Something must be done, now!"


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