A Delaware prisoner’s plea for PPE

This letter is from a prisoner at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in New Castle County, Delaware. 

Two prisoners have died from COVID-19 in the Vaughn facility, and a combined 30 more have tested positive for the virus there and at a neighboring Sussex Community Corrections Center. On April 25, the administration finally announced that they would distribute masks to the 2,100 people housed at both facilities — nearly a full month since the first confirmed cases. (tinyurl.com/ybba9h8r) 

In 2017, prisoners led an uprising at Vaughn. According to Isaiah McCoy, a former inmate there, the prisoners had exhausted all nonviolent means to protest the “inhumane” conditions at the facility. (tinyurl.com/ycuh46cc) 

Building C, Vaughan Correctional Center.
Photo: Sarah Mueller/Delaware Public Media

To: D.O.C. Warden and Commissioner et al.:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus, I am requesting facial masks and sanitizers be distributed out to the prisoner population. So we can minimize and/or prevent the spread of the virus.

Here in [redacted] building [minimum security] where I am housed, no masks exist, no hand sanitizers, other than our own soap which is not antibacterial. A small amount of bleach is given to the tier workers to wipe the doorknobs off, but that’s it. Not enough to clean the walls, the floor, or the bathrooms.

This is a serious matter and needs to be addressed now before it gets out of control. Otherwise the quarantine area will overflow with countless patients or victims of the deadly virus.

This is a serious medical issue and social distancing in a prison setting is difficult to maintain, particularly for those in dormitories and double cells. So for others to get sick is inevitable. It’s important for you to issue a call for masks, sanitizing material, etc., for all buildings!

[name hidden]

April 11, 2020

James T. Vaughn Correctional Center

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