Criminal Justice Reform in Delaware

Delaware has had a growing prison population since the 1980’s and reached its peak in 2007. Its large prison population can be attributed to its three year recidivism rate of almost 65%. This high rate shows how Delaware’s criminal justice system is flawed: People leaving the system should not be back in the system in just three years - they shouldn’t be back in the system at all.


In 2007, Delaware reached its peak prison population. Since then, it has started to make strides to reform its criminal justice system.


Starting in 2003, Delaware lawmakers have passed meaningful criminal justice reforms that include:

Delaware has made great progress in establishing fair sentencing practices and enabling ex-offenders to have an opportunity to seal their records and transition back into society more easily. These reforms have also resulted in a steady decline in the prison population. While these reforms have bettered Delaware’s criminal justice system, there is still much to be done, including establishing drug rehabilitation programs and policies that respect the dignity of incarcerated women. Such policies would reduce the prison population even further, saving taxpayer dollars, and make conditions within prisons more humane.

Identification of legislation should not be considered an endorsement of support of, or opposition to, such bills.

Delaware General Assembly - Senate Bill 50

Delaware Online - Health care delays for prisoners at Vaughn partly due to staff shortage -Markell Signs Mandatory Sentencing Reform into Law