Inmate claims “torture” after JTVCC uprising; DOC and COAD deny claims

Although it's been over a year since the fatal prison uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, legal battles stemming from it are far from over.

Currently, an inmate has a lawsuit seeking compensation from the Department of Corrections, former Governor Jack Markell and others because he claims that he and others were tortured in the aftermath of the uprising.

Donald Parkell, who's in jail for burglary, claims he was one of the three inmates who protected prison counselor, Patricia May, during the uprising.

47 ABC sat down with his lawyer, James Green, to hear more about this case. 

Parkell claims he and others in building C were tortured by teams of correctional officers in various ways after the hostage situation.

"Strip the prisoners, make them sit outside crossed legged in the cold, required them to put their hands on their butts and hold their genitals and then put their hands in their mouth," Green says. 

The lawsuit also claims inmates were zip-tied, forced to lie down, and then were beaten in the courtyard. 

The correctional officers union denies any claims of beatings or torture, but that's not all the lawsuit alleges happened. Parkell says inmates basic needs were also denied including dental, physical, and medical needs. "They were restricted, some inmates said they no had hot meals for weeks, they didn't get bed clothes, a lot of their personal property was taken and never returned, we allege it has been destroyed."

Although the DOC tells us they can't comment because of pending litigation, they did say, "We vehemently denies that any leadership from within the agency calculated or planned the use of excessive force on February 1-2, or at any time following."

The lawsuit seeks compensation but more than anything, we're told the ultimate goal is to make things better for the inmates. 

Green says this is a class action lawsuit, in which all the inmates who were affected in building C would be able to sign on to it. 

Exactly two weeks ago, Parkell and his lawyer filed a response on why this case should not be dismissed.

The judge hearing this case has until March 13th to respond. 

Categories: Delaware, Local News