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Carney to nominate Claire DeMatteis as DOC Commissioner

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Gov. John Carney on June 6 announced his intention to nominate Claire DeMatteis – a former senior counsel to then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden – as the next commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

The nomination will require approval by the Delaware Senate. DeMatteis would replace Commissioner Perry Phelps, who will retire on July 15. She would be the first female Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

“For much of the last two years, Claire has worked side-by-side with Commissioner Phelps to lead reform efforts at the Department of Correction – to make our facilities safer, to invest in new equipment and training, and to recruit correctional officers to do one of the toughest jobs in state government,” said Carney. “Over three decades of experience in government and the private sector, Claire has worked closely with community leaders, legislators and law enforcement officials and has earned their respect and trust.”

In June 2017, Carney appointed DeMatteis to serve as his special assistant at the Department of Correction. In that role, she worked alongside Phelps and led implementation of Carney’s response to the outbreak of violence at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on February 1.

Carney’s plan included a 22 percent increase in starting pay for correctional officers; significant investments in new technology, equipment and training; the creation of a Labor-Management Committee to more effectively recruit officers and decrease mandatory overtime; and renewed efforts to help inmates successfully re-enter their communities.

DeMatteis is currently serving as special assistant coordinating comprehensive re-entry initiatives across six state agencies, including the Departments of Correction, Education, Labor, and Health and Social Services.

“If confirmed by the State Senate, I look forward to working with the women and men of the Delaware Department of Correction to continue to strengthen safety and security, officer recruitment and retention, and programming and services for inmates, as well as implement a coordinated path of services from an offender’s entry into prison through release back into our communities,” said DeMatteis.

The Delaware Senate is expected to consider the nomination this month.

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