WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today announced a comprehensive agreement with the state of Delaware into the conditions of confinement at five Delaware prison facilities. The agreement follows the Department’s investigation of the facilities, which found substantial civil rights violations at four of the five facilities: the Delores J. Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, the Delaware Correctional Center, and the Sussex Correctional Institution.
The investigation did not find constitutional violations at the fifth facility, John L. Webb. With respect to the four facilities, the Department identified inadequate intake screening and health assessments to identify acute and chronic health needs of inmates, inadequate treatment of inmates with infectious diseases, inadequate treatment of inmates with serious mental illness, and deficiencies in the state’s suicide prevention measures. Today's agreement with the state ensures, among other things, that these deficiencies are remedied and that services to address the serious medical and mental health needs of all inmates meet generally accepted professional standards.
“I appreciate Delaware's cooperation during our investigation and commend them for their commitment to improve their correctional facilities,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
The Civil Rights Division conducted its investigation pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, which authorizes the federal government to identify and root out systemic abuses such as those identified in this case. The Civil Rights Division has successfully resolved similar investigations of other adult correctional facilities in numerous other jurisdictions, including New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Los Angeles, Tennessee, New York, Maryland and Kentucky.
The Department of Justice’s enforcement effort reaches beyond adult correctional facilities. Since 2001, the Department of Justice has opened 67 similar investigations into conditions of confinement at juvenile detention centers, nursing homes, mental health facilities and residences for persons with developmental disabilities. These figures represent a 60 percent increase over the 45 such investigations initiated in the 1996-2000 time period.
More information about the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/index.html.