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WILMINGTON, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, following news of the first COVID-19 death at Sussex County Correctional Institution (SCI) in Delaware, Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware (CPBD) Denounced Governor John Carney and the Delaware State Department of Correction (DOC) for inaction while failing to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to inmates in addition to a substantive inmate testing program. The grassroots advocacy organization also renewed their plea for Governor Carney and the DOC to accept its offer of free facemasks and handsanitzer.

Said Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware Campaign Manager Chris Coffey, “Just two weeks ago DOC Commissioner DeMatteis said the situation at SCI was ‘managable.’ Dozens of sick inmates isn’t manageable. It’s negligent at best and malicious at worst. These inmates need PPE and the State needs to create a testing program NOW.”

The inmate’s death come on the heels of CPBD’s accepted-then-rejected offer of 4,600 facemasks for inmates earlier in April, in addition to another offer of assistance just two weeks ago as cases skyrocketed. Back in April DOC first said they would take the PPE then rejected the offer amid reports the DOC would not release prisoners or supply the needed PPE to protect them from COVID-19, just hours after they had initially accepted it per official emails. The rejection came after agency officials informed the office of DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis, a political appointee of Governor John Carney, who has been criticized by CPBD for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

Continued Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware Campaign Manager Chris Coffey, “Nearly three months ago, our organization offered enough masks for Delaware’s entire prison population but was denied because of our critique of the Governor’s inadequate response to COVID-19 for people of color and inmates. Inmates across the country are being infected at more than 2.5 times the rate of the general population and now a life has been lost because of the shameful politics being played by the DOC and Governor Carney who continue to deny free PPE for the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Governor Carney, we are pleading with you and your administration to accept our assistance in supplying inmates and their visitors with the necessary PPE to keep them safe from this disease.”


Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware is a group made up of more than 5,000 members including employees of the global translation services company TransPerfect, as well as concerned Delaware residents, business executives and others. They formed in April of 2016 to focus on raising awareness with Delaware residents, elected officials, and other stakeholders about the issue. While their primary goal of saving the company has been accomplished, they continue their efforts to fight for more transparency in the Delaware Chancery Court. For more information on Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware or to join the cause, visit


Chris Coffey, [email protected]

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