Sussex boot camp closed for good

Study finds program does not meet treatment needs
The Delaware Department of Corrections has closed its boot camp program after an evaluation of released Feb. 26. The boot camp program allowed first-time offenders to shave time off their sentences by completing the six week program. BY KARA NUZBACK
March 6, 2014

Delaware correction officials say the Sussex County boot camp will be closed for good following an evaluation of the program released Feb. 26.

“Our assessment of the Sussex Boot Camp program is complete, and we have made a decision to sunset the program at this time,” said Commissioner Robert Coupe. The assessment indicates the boot camp was not meeting the treatment needs of the offender population, Coupe said.

The boot camp was suspended in November 2013 after a drill instructor was charged in connection with having sexual relations with women inmates.

A review of the boot camp was moved up following the arrest of the drill instructor, but its assessment is part of an ongoing evaluation effort by corrections officials.

All offender programs are under review, Coupe said.

According to research provided by the University of Delaware's Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies, the boot camp had received low scores on its last three reviews.

On Nov. 20, corrections officer Christopher Peck was arrested and charged with having sexual relations with a 19-year-old female inmate in the boot camp program. Peck was also discovered to have had sexual relations with two other female prisoners.

Two months before Peck's arrest, inmates in the boot camp program helped paint and landscape at West Side New Beginnings in West Rehoboth. The program was designed to allow first-time offenders to shave time off of their sentences if they could complete the six-month boot camp. The program included community service, drug rehabilitation and life, job-seeking and reintegration skills.

Coupe said boot camp personnel have been reassigned to other positions with Sussex Correctional Institution. The long-term use for the boot camp building is unknown, he said, but it is currently housing short-term, low-risk inmates.

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