Perry Phelps, Commissioner for the State Department of Corrections in Delaware sadly reports the death of Corrections Sergeant Steven Floyd. He was hailed as a hero by Geoffrey Klopp, president of the union.

Prison riot

Sergeant Floyd, 47, was taken hostage along with three other correctional personnel early Wednesday morning during a prison riot in cellblock “C” at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Facility in Smyrna.

Prisoners with sharp edged weapons took control of the cellblock as one corrections officer requested assistance via radio to quell a disturbance. After inmates had overpowered the few corrections officers on duty, some of the inmates in the cellblock had protected a female prison employee from any harm by using their bodies as a human shield.

During the day, as police negotiated with inmates via the corrections officer’s radio, one corrections employee was released. A second corrections officer was released late Wednesday evening.

Negotiations with the inmates continued through the night. However, as tempers flared and negotiations faltered, tactical teams from the Delaware State Police, Maryland State Police and the Department of Corrections stormed the cellblock shortly after 5:00am. Police used a front-end loader with a backhoe to force entry to the building that prisoners had barricaded.


Sgt. Steven Floyd was found

During the tactical entry, a female counselor was rescued. Sadly, Sgt. Floyd was found unresponsive. He was medically assessed, and it was determined that he was already deceased.

The State Medical Examiner’s officer will be conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

Governor John Carney stated that a full investigation into the prison riot and the causes will be completed and those responsible for Sgt. Floyd’s death will be held accountable.

Some officials attribute the uprising to a lack of staffing. They also stated this incident wasn’t inevitable, but was preventable. The prison was operating at minimum staffing levels at the time of the riot.

The prison houses minimum, medium, and maximum-security prisoners. It also houses the State’s death row inmates. The cellblock held 120 inmates. This prison is the largest maximum-security prison in northern Delaware, housing all men with a capacity of 2,500 inmates.

Sergeant Floyd served the Delaware Department of Corrections for 16 years. His wife and children survive him.

Sergeant Steven Floyd is gone, but never forgotten. EOW: Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)