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Delaware Prison Officials Ask for More Funding

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware prison officials are asking state lawmakers for more money but acknowledge that staffing remains a problem despite increased funding that was approved last year.

Gov. John Carney is asking lawmakers to boost the Department of Correction's general fund budget by $20 million next fiscal year. The bulk of that money would go toward increasing staffing and boosting pay for correctional officers, including hiring 28 more guards at the women's prison.

Meanwhile, DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps told the budget-writing committee Tuesday that there are 261 vacancies within the correctional officer ranks, and that 179 officers are currently eligible for retirement.

The budget request comes just over a year after a riot at the state's maximum-security prison during which a correctional officer was killed and three other staffers were taken hostage.

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.