Site of Delaware prison uprising to be demolished

Correctional Sgt. Steven Floyd was beaten and stabbed to death during the uprising at the Vaughn prison. (File/WHYY)

Correctional Sgt. Steven Floyd was beaten and stabbed to death during the uprising at the Vaughn prison. (File/WHYY)

Delaware correction officials have decided to demolish the building at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, which was the site of the February 1-2, 2017 inmate uprising and death of Lt. Steven Floyd.

Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps announced plans to tear down the building, known as C Building, today. This demonstrates that the prison is moving forward and cultivating a new culture for the future, he said.

“Demolishing the building will serve as a point forward in the healing process and enable the staff at JTVCC to become stronger and stronger as each new day passes,” Phelps said.

Governor John Carney said it’s the right thing to do. “The building is a constant reminder of the senseless, brutal murder of one of DOC’s dedicated public servants — Lieutenant Floyd. To remove the building from the complex will aid in mental and emotional health of officers who work at JTVCC every day,” Carney said in a statement.

Warden Dana Metzger, who was named to the position last July said, “Lt. Floyd’s memory and selfless service are always with us. By tearing down C Building we continue to move JTVCC forward.”

An independent report found a dysfunctional, adversarial culture between prison leaders and rank-and-file, and correctional officers and inmates, both of which, the report says, contributed to the deadly siege. The state has since increased salaries and is offering incentive bonuses for new correctional officers. With fewer vacancies, the governor says inmates will have more consistency when it comes to things like visitation, creating a safer environment for inmates and guards.

On Tuesday, Carney will release the final report from the DOC Special Assistant Claire DeMatteis, who was tasked last year with reforming management practices and training at the prisons.

The 12,700 square foot building housed up to 135 medium-security inmates. It has been vacant since February 2, 2017, when the hostage standoff ended after nearly 20 hours. The inmates who were previously housed there have been moved to other correctional facilities.

The Delaware Department of Correction expects to start demolition this fall, with funding approved in the state’s fiscal year 2019 Bond Bill.

 

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