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Posts Tagged ‘Rogue Force’

Daniel R. Kern died Tuesday at the Plummer Community Corrections Center in Wilmington.

Plummer, 41, was serving a one-year sentence for DUI, fourth offense.

In what has become the state’s usual practice, no cause of death information was provided.

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In a Delaware State News article from 2005, then-Treasurer Jack Markell expressed outrage over substandard health care and other problems with the prison’s medical vendor, Correctional Medical Services:

“These deaths are tragic. Letting a contract stand that may have contributed to them without a detailed investigation would be a tragedy as well,” Markell told the Delaware State News four years ago. “The state is spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars on a contract that does not, at face, appear to be delivering on its promises. … This is not just a dollars-and-cents issue, it’s a life-and-death issue.”

Three days ago, the Caesar Rodney Institute launched its Special Report, “Rogue Force,” detailing inadequacies shockingly similar to the ones found in 2005.

Immediately following its release, neither the Governor nor Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg responded to the allegations.

The next day, Kate Bailey, spokeswoman for Carl Danberg, attacked the messenger rather than respond to the message.

“The department does not view this report as the product of an independent unbiased or balanced investigation and will not be treating or responding to it as such,” Bailey told WDEL’s Rick Jensen.

The report nevertheless garnered the attention of the Delaware Senate, prompting calls by Delaware Sens. Colin Bonini and Bruce Ennis for an investigation into the allegations raised in “Rogue Force.”

This morning, Bailey changed her response yet again, telling the Delaware State News “We take allegations of abuse seriously and regularly investigate them.” The DOC reported that “an internal investigation is already underway.”

Previous internal investigations by the DOC have resulted in little more than the review of corrections officers’ reports without interviewing prisoners or reviewing medical records.

Senator Ennis, however, agreed to delay the pursuit of legislative action pending review of the Department’s findings.

We are awaiting the results of the DOC’s internal probe.

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Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, who chairs the Senate’s Adult and Juvenile Corrections Committee, announced Tuesday he will hold joint hearings with the House Correction Committee into allegations of abuse and shoddy medical care in Delaware prisons.

His decision, Ennis said, was based on problems revealed by the Caesar Rodney Institute’s special investigative report “Rogue Force.”

“The allegations are disturbing, and certainly demand some type of investigation,” Ennis said. “The majority of correction officers are dedicated hard working people, who work in a stressful environment, but these allegations certainly need to be investigated.”

CRI’s ongoing series reveals how guards at the Sussex Correctional Institution are physically abusing inmates in their care.

The report shows how Delaware is breaking an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, in which the Department of Correction promised to improve its shoddy medical care, which federal investigators determined was violating the civil rights of the 6,900 inmates in state custody.

The special report examines physical abuse by guards at the Sussex Correctional Institution and its consequences. It tells David Sully’s story, who says guards at SCI beat him nearly to death. The series also tells the story of inmate Benjamin Sudler, who had both legs amputated due to diabetes that went untreated. This series reveals how the state’s well-compensated prison monitor is doing little to fix the problems.

The hearings will be held in Legislative Hall. Ennis wants the hearings held in September or October.

His announcement came after Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, called for a special prosecutor, the empanelling of an investigative grand jury, investigations, audits and new legislation as a result of the findings presented in “Rogue Force.”

Contact investigative reporter Lee Williams at (302) 242-9272 or lee@caesarrodney.org

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In a letter to all state officials, Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, calls for a special prosecutor, the empaneling of an investigative grand jury, new legislation and investigations into the problems revealed in “Rogue Force.”

This letter can be viewed on the Special Reports page.

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