There are no private prisons in Delaware as of 2023. The state took over Delaware's only private jail, the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, in 2022. The GEO Group, a Florida-based private prison business, previously ran the institution.
Furthermore, the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) is responsible for the operation of all state prisons in Delaware. The department currently operates four adult correctional institutions:
Baylor Women's Correctional Institution, Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and Sussex Correctional Institution.
These facilities collectively accommodate approximately 5000 inmates. Additionally, the Department of Corrections also runs a variety of community-based facilities, including probation and parole offices, halfway homes, and work release centers.
The Department of Corrections' mission is to keep the public safe by overseeing adult offenders via safe and compassionate services, programs, and facilities.
Why Does Delaware Not Have Private Prisons?
There are multiple reasons why Delaware does not have private prisons. These reasons include public opposition, Considerations for money, and Legislative constraints.
In addition to these reasons, there are also some ethical concerns about the use of private prisons. For example, some people argue that private prison companies have a financial incentive to keep people incarcerated, even if they do not need to be.
However, this could lead to longer sentences and worse conditions for inmates. As a result of these factors, there are no private prisons in Delaware, and it is unlikely that there will be any in the future.
There is a significant amount of public opposition to private prisons in Delaware. This opposition is based on concerns about the quality of care in private prisons, the potential for corruption, and the profit motive of private prison companies.
Considerations For Money:
The state of Delaware has discovered that operating its own prisons is more cost-effective than contracting with private organizations.
According to a study conducted by the Delaware Department of Correction, the state could save an estimated $10 million a year by operating its own prisons.
The Delaware legislature has enacted legislation that limits the use of private prisons. These rules compel the state to do a cost-benefit analysis before contracting with a private prison corporation.
Also, they make it illegal for the state to contract with a private prison company for more than five years.
George W. Hill Correctional Facility
Under the new Delaware County Council, George W. Hill, Pennsylvania's sole privately maintained county jail, became public. The GEO Group, a Florida-based prison-management business, has managed the 1,800-bed institution since its creation in 1998.
The county inked a new five-year, $259-million deal with GEO in December 2018, which contained an early termination option. On the suggestion of the Delaware County Jail Oversight Board, which voted 6-2 to cease private administration, the county council unanimously approved last autumn to execute that option.
Moreover, at least eight persons died when the facility was run by GEO Group between 2005 and 2008. Several of the fatalities resulted in lawsuits filed by family members alleging that the institution did not offer enough medical treatment or monitoring for offenders.
GEO ceased operations at this location on December 31, 2008, claiming underperformance and frequent litigations as the reason. Since CEC took over operations at George W. Hill in 2009, six suicides have occurred, according to the Delaware County Medical Examiner's office.
However, GEO Group repurchased the facility in April 2017, following the completion of an acquisition of Community Education Centres.
Programs And Services At George W. Hill Correctional Facility
Like other state prisons in the state of Delaware, George W. Hill correctional facility also offers a wide range of programs and services for its inmate population, including educational services, religious services, library services, substance use disorder services, life, and soft skills, re-entry and aftercare, and sexual assault prevention, etc.
Re-entry And Aftercare
After release, a sentenced jailed person is examined to identify community needs. Prior to release, an individualized bundle of community resources and a re-entry strategy is supplied to inmates for their reintegration into society.
This facility also provides religious services to inmates. In addition, Incarcerated people have the option of participating in a planned service. If the planned services do not fulfill their requirements, they can call the Chaplain to have a priest or religious person visit them.
Other religious services offered to inmates include but are not limited to family emergency notice, death-in-family notification, bereavement counseling, one-on-one spiritual direction when needed, and distribution of donated religious objects.
Opportunities for education educational services at the facility include, but are not limited to, jailed adolescents (21 years and under) earning a High School Diploma, adult incarcerated people earning a GED, and access to college credits.
The Law Library offers recreational literature, preprinted court petitions, updated books, and treatises for Federal, State, and Local Standards, LexisNexis, Voter Registration, and Notary Services.
Substance Use Disorder Services
The facility Utilizes best practices to provide substance use disorder programs for jailed persons. Cognitive Based Therapy (CBT), Prison Re-entry Education Programs (PREP), Medication Assistant Programs, and Therapeutic Communities (TC) were among the programs offered.
Life and Soft Skills
The George W. Hill Correctional Facility also provides life and soft skills to its inmates. A course on decision-making and life skills that involves both one-on-one and group sessions.
PREA And Resources
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed by US Congress in 2003. The main motive behind this act is to eradicate sexual harassment and sexual abuse from prisons.
Therefore, George W. Hill Correctional Facility strives to implement the law and maintains a safe and secure environment for its prisoners. It has zero tolerance for sexual assault or sexual misconduct inside the facility.
Some other George W. Hill Correctional Facility programs and service needs and interests include but are not limited to:
- Job Readiness/Entrepreneurship/ Workforce Development
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Prevention
- Mental Health Programs
- Violence Prevention and Trauma Counseling
- Reentry Support and Planning
- Financial literacy
- Gender Focus Program
- Infectious Diseases Education and Prevention
- Family Reunification
- Anger Management
- Parenting Skills
- Health Education
- Housing Options
In conclusion, the state of Delaware had one private prison named George W. Hill Correctional Facility in the past, operated by the GEO Group. However, the contract was terminated in 2022.
There are various reasons behind Delaware not having private prisons at the moment, including public opposition, Considerations for money, and legislative constraints.
Moreover, George W. Hill Correctional Facility was built in 1998. This 1800-bed facility was managed by a Florida-based private company.
It also provides a wide range of programs and services, including educational services, religious services, library services, substance use disorder services, life and soft skills, re-entry and aftercare, sexual assault prevention, and many more.