The Justice Department announced that the state of Delaware has fully complied with the parties’ amended memorandum of agreement (MOA) which was reached after an investigation of three Delaware state prisons. The MOA, which includes reforms in mental health care, medical care and suicide prevention, was entered into after an investigation of the conditions at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution and the Sussex Correctional Institution.
“Prisons are a critical component of the public safety system. The conditions in prisons affect not only those confined there, but the staff, prisoners’ families and the community at large,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the state for its successful efforts to improve medical and mental health care for Delaware inmates, and for its commitment to ensuring that the constitutional rights of inmates are protected. In the Justice Department’s view, the state of Delaware has met the requirements necessary for termination of the amended memorandum of agreement.”
Among other reforms, the state established the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services, which, with the department’s input, designed and implemented an excellent continuous quality improvement program which has become a sought-after model among other states and municipalities.
In December 2006, the department and state entered into the original MOA to resolve the department’s findings of unlawful conditions at the facilities, following a comprehensive investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) which began in March 2006. The settlement called for broad reforms in areas related to medical care, mental health care, and suicide prevention. When the original MOA expired by its terms in December 2009, the department and the state negotiated a successor, the amended MOA, with which the state has achieved substantial compliance, resulting in this termination.