DOC shuffles prison health care leadership

DOVER — The Department of Correction announced a change in leadership for its health care section on Tuesday.

Marc Richman, who has spent the past four years as chief of the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Service, “will depart the agency to pursue opportunities consistent with his career-long interest in promoting best practices in healthcare,” according to the state.

He will be replaced by James Elder, the current head of the Bureau of Community Corrections, starting Nov. 1.

James Elder

The division Mr. Elder will take over is being renamed the Bureau of Healthcare, Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services. According to an agency spokesman, the new name “more accurately reflects the expanded services provided by the Department of Correction over time, particularly in behavioral health and substance abuse treatment.”

“During his tenure, Chief Richman has further professionalized the Bureau of Correctional Healthcare Services team and has moved its operations and services forward,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis, who took office in July, said in a statement. “Notably, his leadership implementing Telemedicine, Medication Assisted Treatment and Medication Assisted Withdrawal has put the Delaware Department of Correction on the forefront of correctional healthcare innovation.

“As our state has focused on implementing new criminal justice reforms, Jim Elder’s expertise, particularly in cognitive behavioral therapy, has brought a new perspective and new programs to the Bureau of Community Corrections over the past two years. We appreciate his willingness to leverage that knowledge along with his leadership experience within Delaware’s correctional system to advance medical and behavioral healthcare outcomes and support successful reentry efforts across the entire Department of Correction.”

Marc Richman

Mr. Elder joined the department in June 2017, coming from the Wilmington HOPE Commission. During his time with the agency, he has worked to reduce recidivism and has overseen mental health and substance abuse treatment programs for individuals under community supervision, in work release and in violation of probation facilities.

Dr. Richman will depart in a month when the review of correctional health care currently being conducted by the Christiana Care Health System is set to be complete.

A new chief of the Bureau of Community Corrections will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

The Department of Correction has been under fire for years, with criticism intensifying tremendously after an inmate uprising left one correctional officer dead in February 2017. More recently, Commissioner Perry Phelps stepped down this summer after allegations of fraud by a department contractor.

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