Two years after fatal prison riot, 700 cameras installed in Delaware’s largest prison

James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna is currently locked down due to what the Delaware Department of Correction is calling an emergency situation. (Licensed under Creative Commons)

James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna is currently locked down due to what the Delaware Department of Correction is calling an emergency situation. (Licensed under Creative Commons)

A lack of security cameras inside Delaware’s largest prison made it difficult for police responding to the 2017 inmate riot that ended in the death of correctional officer Lt. Steven Floyd. Now, more than two years later, 714 cameras are in place throughout the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Installing cameras was one of the recommendations of an independent review commissioned by Gov. John Carney.

“While cameras may not have prevented the incident from occurring, they could have had a deterrent effect and could have provided additional information for post-incident investigations had they been installed inside the housing unit,” former Delaware Attorney General Charles Oberly and retired Family Court Judge William Chapman wrote as part of their independent review report.

The camera installation work started in October 2017 after state lawmakers set aside $2.5 million for the project.

“The safety of staff and inmates is a priority at all DOC facilities,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps. “Without talented IT professionals and support from Gov. Carney and the Legislature, this project would not have been possible.”

Phelps said the cameras significantly increases the safety and security of both staff and inmates at Vaughn.

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