Delaware NAACP Comments on Smyrna Prison Incident

By: C. Linwood Jackson, President NAACP Delaware State Conference

MOVING FROM REVOLT TO RESOLUTION

Finding a Path Forward Through Collaboration

First and foremost, our condolences and prayers go out to Sgt. Steven Floyd’s family. Loss of life under any circumstances is unconscionable. I believe we all prayed for an outcome where there would be no loss of life and again we mourn along with everyone affected by this.

We have spoken briefly with the warden at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and expressed our interest in working with him in particular and the DOC in general, in partnership with our NAACP prison branch to resolve any persistent issues highlighted by the demands made by the prisoners involved with this unfortunate turn of events.

We hope that as the investigation moves on to identify the perpetrators, their motivation and the circumstances that led up to hostages being taken, that procedures and policies can be put in place to insure the safety and security of the DOC staff, as well as address inmate humanitarian and mental health concerns, that based on reports seem to identify overcrowding, understaffed shifts and excessive use of solitary confinement, as possible root causes of the action taken by the prisoners.

The NAACP advocates for smarter, results-based criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe, including treatment for addiction and mental health problems, judicial discretion in sentencing, and an end to racial disparities at all levels of the system.

As President of the NAACP Delaware State Conference, I am committed to working with any and all groups, organizations, and elected officials that are looking for equitable solutions to the problems that affect us all.