The Delaware Department of Correction announced it has entered into a two-year agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to enhance public safety and decrease correctional officer overtime.

A reduction in officer overtime will improve work life balance for staff, improve security in Delaware correctional facilities and result in a decrease in operating costs.

During the next several months, PADOC will accept up to 330 Delaware-sentenced inmates into their custody to be placed at a Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution. Inmates selected to be transferred are not engaged in active litigation and have more than five years remaining on their sentence. Medical and mental health treatment, education and other services will continue to be available to the relocated men. The inmates will return to Delaware to complete their sentences when the correctional officer vacancy rate is projected to be significantly lower. There are currently 237 correctional officer vacancies statewide.

“We remain focused on improving safety for correctional officers and inmates in all of Delaware’s correctional facilities,” said DDOC Commissioner Perry Phelps. “This new agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is designed as a temporary measure to help us reduce mandatory overtime for correctional officers, which was a critical recommendation of the Independent Review team commissioned by Gov. Carney. Reducing mandatory overtime will provide relief for Delaware’s correctional officers and help make our facilities safer for officers and inmates.”

The DOC has recently tried to reduce the number of vacancies by increasing correctional officer salaries; offering $1,000 bonuses to current staff who refer officers who are successfully hired; providing $3,000 signing bonuses to cadets; and engaging in various methods of recruitment and advertisement. Since the implementation of the signing bonus and referral program in April, DOC Human Resources has received 2,126 applications. The DOC has hired 130 cadets since the salary increase became effective in July 2018.

As part of the contract with PADOC, the Delaware Department of Correction will pay $123 per inmate per day to Pennsylvania. PADOC has many facilities where inmates transferred from Delaware may be housed. But both states will remain conscious of the importance of strong support systems and will make an effort to place Delaware inmates in prisons that do not require excessive travel time in order to facilitate visitation.