Employees speak out over treatment of Delaware inmates during pandemic

GEORGETOWN, Del. – “This needs to be heard, it’s not right. And I can’t sit back and watch it any longer I can’t be a part of it anymore,” said a Sussex County Correctional Institue employee.

SCI employees are speaking out saying enough is enough. After seeing what they say is “inhumane” treatment of inmates behind prison walls amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Some of them had high temperatures, no Tylenol had been given to them for days, they have been asking,” said an employee.

“We treat POWs better than that,” said another employee.

Afraid to lose their jobs, these employees have asked to remain anonymous.  But they tell 47 ABC between the facility allegedly not having enough PPE for their staff or following sanitation protocols, something needed to be done.

“They went four days without getting an outfit, they were wearing the same dirty clothes, they wouldn’t do their laundry, they’re not getting commissary which means you’re not getting proper hygiene products,” said the employee.

But now, department of corrections officials are firing back. Saying these allegations are just not true.

“There is an ample supply of PPE, we have over 30,000 N-95 masks, we have gowns, we have cloth protective masks for both the officers and the inmates. Those go bags consisted of hygiene products, snacks, everything they need or want, in the environment that they’re in now,” said Deputy Bureau Chief for Prisons, Paul Shavack.

Employees are also alleging these facilities are at max capacity and inmates don’t even get a chance to go outside.

“They are at max capacity, they’re all smashed in there like sardines, they don’t get to go outside to go to rec.”

But DOC officials say there’s plenty of space for inmates and only those who’ve tested positive for the virus have*to stay inside for health reasons.

“Once they get to the recovered phase, we’ll have to modify that rec for that COVID center there, but right now we’re focused on treating their symptoms. We use every tool, every resource available in order to combat this virus. We know how to do it and we’re going to continue to contain this one,” said Shavack.

Recently the ACLU of Delaware called for universally-available testing and PPE following the department of correction’s announcement that more than 300 inmates at SCI tested positive for the coronavirus. In a statement, they said, “The pandemic is not abating any time soon, and we must begin to prepare for a long term fight to prevent its spread.”

Categories: Delaware, Local News