3 inmates indicted in uprising came from other states

SMYRNA — Three of the inmates charged on Tuesday as a result of their involvement in the Feb. 1 James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC) uprising that left Lt. Floyd dead are originally from states other than Delaware.

They are among 20 out-of-state offenders who have been relocated to Delaware prisons under the Interstate Corrections Contract.

Robert Hernandez, 36, is an inmate from New Mexico serving a 16-year sentence for second degree murder in that state. He’s one of the sixteen JTVCC inmates being charged with the murder of Lt. Floyd.

Pedro Chairez, 42, and Royal Downs, 52, are originally from Arizona and Maryland, respectively. They’re being charged with kidnapping, rioting and conspiracy in connection with the uprising.

The Delaware State News reported in March, after contact with the Arizona Department of Corrections, an examination of several Delaware DOC incident reports, searches on Delaware’s offender locater platform and an inmate letter received by attorney Stephen Hampton, that Chairez was part of the C-Building — the site of the uprising — population at the time of the incident.

The Arizona corrections department confirmed it held Chairez until he was transferred to Delaware on May 10, 2011. For security purposes, officials declined to offer an explanation for the transfer.

Chairez’s record with the Arizona agency contains 32 disciplinary infractions, including conspiracy, possession of manufactured weapons and contraband, rioting, assault and staff obstruction.

According to their records, he had been serving a life sentence since 1996 for second-degree murder, aggravated assault and participation in a criminal street gang before being transferred.

DOC spokeswoman Jayme Gravell noted that past disciplinary records of transferred inmates are “essential” for the purpose of appropriate placement in Delaware’s facilities.

“The disciplinary history of all offenders is considered during the classification module utilized by our agency,” she said in March.

DOC officials have noted that C-Building is a unit that houses around 100 inmates in transition from medium to maximum security or vice versa.
Interstate contract policy

The rationale for relocating an inmate to a different state is to ensure the safety of the offender, to maintain public safety or, occasionally, at the offender’s request in instances where they may not be a resident of the state they’re currently housed in, explained Ms. Gravell.

As of the beginning of the year, Delaware has an agreement with 27 other U.S. states that allows them to swap inmates.

The inmate exchange agreement is referred to as an Interstate Corrections Contract.

“We can transfer inmates to another state per the level five Interstate Corrections Contract, which is a contract between two different states,” said Ms. Gravell in March.

The DOC also has the ability to transfer an offender’s probation to another state through the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision.

Although the state receiving the inmate absorbs the costs of housing them, the state in which the inmate was sentenced is responsible for medical fees deemed “extraordinary,” noted Ms. Gravell. Inmate exchanges are not always a one for one trade.

Although the specific destination and origin states are classified, some instances are well known. Earl Bradley, the former Lewes pediatrician sentenced to 14 life terms for raping more than 100 young patients, was moved out of state in 2016.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.