Inmates charged for CO’s murder file lawsuit alleging abuse behind bars

Nine inmates claim conditions after a 2017 riot became worse for the inmates including being abused by COs

By CorrectionsOne Staff

SMYRNA, Del.  — Nine inmates charged with the murder of a Delaware corrections officer during a two-day prison riot have filed a federal lawsuit claiming they were abused for years and conditions worsened after the  2017 riot.

Dwayne Staats, the sole inmate convicted of Lt. Steven Floyd’s murder, filed a handwritten lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Jan. 17, along with eight other inmates, WDEL reports. 

All the inmates claim they were “physically, mentally and emotionally, abused and mistreated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

"The higher ranking officers and administration at JTVCC knew about the abuses and torment, permeating throughout the environment," the lawsuit said. "They chose to either support and encourage these behaviors or turn a blind eye to them."

The lawsuit claims conditions of the prison led to the Feb. 1-2, 2017 riots that killed Lt. Floyd and allege the conditions after worsened for the inmates. Poor medical and mental health treatments, limited access to rehabilitation programs and a dysfunctional grievance system were listed in the suit.

The nine inmates are seeking $300,000 in compensatory damages as well as $100,000 in punitive damages.

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