Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Prisons and Prisoners


Subchapter II. Commissioner of Correction

The Commissioner shall assume full and active charge of the Department, its facilities and services, and is the chief executive and administrative officer of the Department.

11 Del. C. 1953, § 6516; 54 Del. Laws, c. 349, § 1.;

The Commissioner shall carry out and provide for:

(1) Promulgating rules and regulations to carry out the Commissioner's duties and operate the Department;

(2) The organization, maintenance, control and operation of the Department;

(3) The custody, study, training, treatment, correction and rehabilitation of persons committed to the Department;

(4) Regulating the nature and limitations of authorized punishments for violations of the rules established for the government of any institution or facility under the jurisdiction of the Department, but corporal punishment shall not be inflicted therefor; providing by general rule for a merit system for reduction of confinement;

(5) The administration, supervision, operation, management and control of state correction institutions, farms or any other institution or facility under the jurisdiction of the Department;

(6) The management and control of institutional labor and industry;

(7) The operation of probation and parole field services;

(8) The employment of such officers, employees and agents as may be deemed necessary to discharge the functions of the Department, together with establishing their qualifications and the establishment of a merit system and training programs;

(9) Developing a suitable administrative structure providing for divisions, bureaus and services within the Department;

(10) Governing the transportation and transfer of offenders and persons between the various institutions and facilities under its jurisdiction or elsewhere as provided in this chapter, transfers to be made by issued orders, the reasons thereof to be made a matter of record, in each case. No female offender or person shall be transferred unless accompanied by at least 1 female officer or guard;

(11) Managing and supervising the Department and doing any and all things necessary to carry out and to fulfill the purposes of this chapter; and

(12) Administering the medical/treatment services contract, or appointing a designee to administer the medical/treatment contract.

11 Del. C. 1953, § 6517; 54 Del. Laws, c. 349, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 305, § 7.;

(a) The Adult Correction Healthcare Review Committee (Committee) is hereby established. The Committee shall consist of 6 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Delaware State Senate which shall include the following;

(1) A Delaware licensed physician;

(2) A Delaware licensed psychiatrist;

(3) A Delaware licensed psychologist;

(4) A Delaware licensed registered nurse;

(5) A member of the Delaware Bar;

(6) An expert in the field of substance abuse treatment.

(b) The Chief of Correctional Healthcare Services shall serve as an ex officio nonvoting member. All other members shall be appointed for a term of 3 years.

(c) The Medical Society of Delaware, the Delaware Psychiatric Society, the Delaware Psychological Association, the Delaware Nurses Association, and the Delaware State Bar Association, may submit recommendations to the Governor for consideration of appointment.

(d) The chair of the Committee shall be elected annually by majority vote of the current Committee members.

(e) The Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of the Department of Correction on all matters in Delaware's adult correction system relating to the provision of inmate health-care services, the review of all inmate deaths and autopsies relating to those deaths, the construction of health-care contracts that provide inmate health-care services, and the review of all statistics relating to inmate health care. The Committee shall not be considered a public body as defined at § 10002 of Title 29.

(f) The Committee shall:

(1) Perform advisory reviews of medical records of inmates who have died while incarcerated;

(2) Review and monitor the quality and appropriateness of health-care services rendered in Delaware's adult correctional facilities;

(3) Review critical incident and mortality and morbidity review reports;

(4) Receive and review monthly summaries of inmate, staff, public, and other grievances and the resolutions of these grievances in order to be fully appraised of the state of health-care services in Delaware's adult correction facilities;

(5) Receive and review monthly reports of inmate hospital admissions and infectious disease diagnoses, such as hepatitis C, tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and meningitis, from all adult correction facilities;

(6) Have access to any and all otherwise protected health-care information relating to current and former inmates supervised by the Department of Correction notwithstanding any other statute to the contrary; and

(7) Review and advise on any other matters relating to adult inmate health care that the Committee considers reasonable and worthwhile including, but not limited to, the following:

a. Assurance that all inmates receive appropriate and timely services in a safe environment;

b. Systematic monitoring of the treatment environment;

c. Assisting in the reduction of professional and general liability risks;

d. Enhancing efficient utilization of resources;

e. Assisting in credential review;

f. Enhancing the identification of continuing educational needs;

g. Facilitating the identification of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement;

h. Facilitating the coordination and integration of information systems; and

i. Assuring the resolution of identified problems.

(g) The Committee shall refer to the appropriate licensing board grievance cases in which there is a serious deviation from the community standard of care by a health-care worker or other employee of a prison health-care contractor, if the health-care worker or other employee's profession or occupation is governed under Title 24.

(h) The Department of Correction shall forward copies of National Commission of Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) and American Correctional Association (ACA) surveys, reports, and evaluations to the Committee upon their request. Whenever a survey, evaluation, or similar act is conducted by or on behalf of NCCHC or ACA, the Committee may be contacted and be allowed to contribute to the survey, evaluation, or other activity. The transmission of documents in the possession of the Department of Correction to the Committee shall not be considered a waiver of any statutory or common law privilege.

(i) Any document received or generated by the Committee is hereby specifically excluded from the definition of public record as set forth at § 10002 of Title 29.

(j) This section is intended only to provide ongoing independent review, monitoring, advice, and critique of the provision of health care to inmates within the custody of the Department of Correction. Accordingly, nothing in this chapter shall give rise to any right, entitlement or a private cause of action for civil damages or injunctive relief for any public or private party.

(k) The Committee shall submit a report by December 31 of each year to the Governor and the General Assembly on the state of inmate health care in Delaware's adult correction system.

76 Del. Laws, c. 388, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 382, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 378, § 1.;