Inmate response to changes

Inmate Andre Peters being interviewed by the media inside James T. Vaughn on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The purported changes made to Vaughn prison over the last year undoubtedly affected inmates. After the unveiling of their “final report” on the implementation of recommendations made by a governor-ordered review of the prison, DOC officials led media on a tour of the facility and made an inmate available for interview.

31-year-old inmate Andre Peters is serving time for burglary and likely won’t be released until 2030. With the hiring of new Warden Dana Metzger last year, Peters said there has been a noticeable shift in the prison’s culture toward building a more productive relationship between staff and inmates facility-wide.

A policy change in the last year that hasn’t escaped the notice of him and fellow inmates was the introduction of an Inmate Advisory Council — a 10-inmate council that meets monthly with Warden Dana Metzger and his staff to “foster discussion and problem-solving” between inmates and correctional officers.

“It’s important for us to feel heard, it helps develop our relation with the staff and even things out,” he said.

He believes that inmates serving on the council were able to successfully advocate for a few slight changes to the cafeteria menu that were unpopular among inmates and suggest new job-training programs to staff.

However, Peters was less enthusiastic about the recent installation of hundreds of new cameras throughout the facility.

“I mean, no one likes the feeling that they’re being watched all day, but I understand the need for them,” he said.

When pressed, Peters admitted that the cameras could be a useful tool in working out inmate grievances though and they served the function of protecting both inmates and correctional officer.

“It’s good that we’re all being watched,” he added.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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