Group slams DOC's response as COVID-19 cases skyrocket at Del. prison

The Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware renewed its offer to the DOC of providing masks and hand sanitizer to inmates


Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. — Following news of a surge in COVID-19 cases at Sussex County Correctional Institution (SCI), Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware (CPBD) slammed the State Department of Correction (DOC) for failing to proactively provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to inmates, and renewed its offer to the DOC of both facemasks and hand sanitizer.

Per the DOC, 122 inmates tested positive for COVID-19, including 119 at SCI. 95 inmates are reportedly symptomatic.

Per the DOC, 122 inmates tested positive for COVID-19, including 119 at Sussex County Correctional Institution.
Per the DOC, 122 inmates tested positive for COVID-19, including 119 at Sussex County Correctional Institution. (Photo/Delaware Department of Correction)

The report come on the heels of CPBD's accepted-then-rejected offer of 4,600 facemasks for inmates earlier this year. Back in April DOC first said they would take the PPE then rejected the offer amid reports the DOC would not release prisoners or supply the needed PPE to protect them from COVID-19, just hours after they had initially accepted it per official emails. The rejection came after agency officials informed the office of DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis, a political appointee of Governor John Carney, who has been criticized by CPBD for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

"Nearly three months ago, our organization offered enough masks for Delaware’s entire prison population but was denied because of our critique of the Governor’s inadequate response to COVID-19 for people of color and inmates," Chris Coffey, CPBD campaign manager, said. "Inmates across the country are being infected at more than 2.5 times the rate of the general population and it is shameful that the DOC and Governor Carney will continue to deny free PPE for the state’s most vulnerable populations. We again, offer our assistance in supplying inmates and their visitors the necessary PPE to keep them safe from this disease."

Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware is a group made up of more than 5,000 members including employees of the global translation services company TransPerfect, as well as concerned Delaware residents, business executives and others. They formed in April 2016 to focus on raising awareness with Delaware residents, elected officials, and other stakeholders about the issue. While their primary goal of saving the company has been accomplished, they continue their efforts to fight for more transparency in the Delaware Chancery Court.

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