Out of 41 suggestions to improve the prison, overtime is the one issue that still needs fixing.
Gov. John Carney released a report today of progress made for the final report of the Independent Review of Security Issues, regarding the uprising at the Smyrna prison in 2017.
The report on James T. Vaughn Correction Center -- including contribution from Perry Phelps, Department of Correction commissioner -- featured 41 recommendations to help improve the prison.
Of the 41 recommendations, the DOC has implemented and measurably addressed 40 of them, which is detailed in the report written by Claire DeMatteis, who was assigned as special assistant to the DOC for one year to work with commissioner Phelps on the needed reforms.
The one recommendation that requires additional time to address is the need to reduce mandatory overtime, according to the report.
While enhanced recruiting efforts could take another 18 to 24 months to yield substantial results in lower officer vacancies, DOC leaders are actively seeking short-term solutions, particularly at JTVCC, to reduce the high number of overtime shifts required to operate the facility safely.
These solutions are expected to be carried out beginning this fall.
“Our overarching motivation to strengthen the Department’s operations and security was to honor the ultimate sacrifice and service of Lt. Steven Floyd,” said commissioner Phelps. “Having a one-year time frame to implement the reforms channeled our motivation into action and positive results.”
Over the past year, hundreds of cameras have been installed at JTVCC for the first time since the facility was built in 1971.
“DOC has strengthened officer safety, communication and training, increased officer recruiting and retention efforts, modernized operations and intelligence gathering and improved services and programs for inmates,” Gov. Carney said.
“Since last February, we have committed to publicly documenting the serious challenges at the Department of Correction, and to implementing reforms in a way that will hold us accountable to the public every step of the way.
“We have made significant progress in implementing recommendations of the Independent Review team, and taking steps forward that will make our prison system safer for officers and inmates alike. This is not a short-term mission. We have more work to do.
“But we are committed to doing what’s right, to making necessary changes, and to holding this process accountable publicly.”