James T. Vaughn Correctional Center1181 Paddock Road
Smyrna, DE 19977
WARDEN: Perry Phelps
DEPUTY WARDENS: David Pierce and James Scarborough
The JTVCC is a Level 5 (prison) facility for men located near Smyrna, Delaware, in southern New Castle County. The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is the state's largest adult, male correctional facility. Currently, JTVCC houses approximately 2,500 inmates. JTVCC houses minimum, medium, and maximum security inmates. JTVCC is also the primary facility for housing the Kent County pre-trial (detainee) population. It also houses inmates sentenced to the death penalty. Executions are carried out at the JTVCC.
JTVCC opened in 1971 with a capacity of 441. Expansions since then have increased the total bed capacity to over 2,600. In 1996, construction began on a $110 million, 888-bed addition. The expansion included 600 new maximum security cells, the addition of almost 26,000 linear feet (4.8 miles) of security fencing, the installation of 6 miles of razor wire, the construction of a new central tower and an additional perimeter tower, and the installation of new security cameras and enhanced observation points. The 600 maximum security cells have been constructed in six new housing units with 888 new beds. Three hundred cells have a single bed; 300 cells are double-bunked unless they are handicap-accessible in which case the cell is single bunked. All inmates are classified and assigned quality of life levels consistent with their criminal history, institutional behavior/history, threat to public safety and institutional safety and security, and program needs. The new addition houses the Security Housing Unit (SHU) and the Medium-High Housing Unit (MHU).
The SHU houses those inmates who have demonstrated that they cannot be housed in a lesser security setting and/or whose behavior and history are conducive to maximum security housing. In addition, inmates sentenced to the death penalty are housed in the Security Housing Unit. There are 300 cells in the SHU. Each cell is single-bunked. Inmates in the SHU are locked in their cells 23 hours a day. Inmates may use their one hour of out-of-cell time to shower and exercise. These inmates may have visitors, make telephone calls and have limited numbers of personal items in their cells including a radio, magazines, and books according to the inmate's assigned quality of life level. Inmates, other than those sentenced to the death penalty, may earn their way out of the SHU by exhibiting appropriate behavior, complying with institutional rules and participating in treatment, education, and/or work programs.
The MHU is a step down from the SHU and a step up from the general JTVCC population. Inmates in the MHU have more privileges than inmates in the SHU but fewer privileges than inmates in the general population. The MHU has 588 beds in 300 cells.
Inmates sentenced to the death penalty are housed at the James T Vaughn Correctional Center in the Security Housing Unit. Executions are carried out at JTVCC. In July 2003, the Department of Correction dismantled the State's only gallows because the last inmate in Delaware eligible to be executed by hanging won a new trial and life sentence.
JTVCC has several programs designed to rehabilitate the inmate including educational opportunities, vocational training, work assignments, spiritual/religious programs and a variety of other classes and programming.