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Call For Federal Probe Into Sussex County Inmate Release Program

An investigation by federal officials has been called for by the Delaware Republican State Committee Chair John Sigler into a Sussex County prisoner program that allows employers to use inmates as day laborers.

He wants to know if there have been any civil rights violations among other offenses.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Delaware Department of Correction abruptly closed down the program in June after it could not get documentation about the inmates leaving the Sussex Work Release Center since 1989.

Correction Commissioner Carl Danberg has opened a probe.

The chain of events began when two inmates became part of a tire burning incident that involved state representative John Atkins.

The Millsboro Democrat later pleaded guilty in February to improperly disposing solid waste and burning after hours.

Following the incident the Wilmington News Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request in March that found there was a lack of paperwork.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.