Chief of Delaware prisons leaves post, takes new state job
DOVER, Del. – The head of the division in charge of Delaware's prisons has left the post in the wake of a fatal inmate riot and hostage taking.
Department of Correction officials confirmed Friday that Christopher Klein has been replaced as chief of the Bureau of Prisons.
Klein has been given a new job as deputy principal assistant at the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, which is led by Robert Coupe, his former boss at the Department of Correction.
As bureau chief under both Coupe and current DOC commissioner Perry Phelps, Klein oversaw Delaware's four prisons, including the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Inmates took over a building at Vaughn on Feb. 1, taking four staffers hostage. Correctional officer Steven Floyd was killed.
The former warden at Vaughn, David Pierce, was reassigned after the prison riot. Officials announced Friday that Air Force Lt. Col. Dana Metzger has been named warden at the Vaughn prison.
Klein, meanwhile, is being replaced as bureau chief of prisons by Steven Wesley, the current warden at Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington.
"We look forward to working with Bureau Chief Wesley, and he will be a tremendous asset to the department in his new position," said Geoff Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware.
Klopp said he also looked forward to meeting and working with Metzger, a 22-year Air Force veteran who currently serves as commander of the security forces squadron at Dover Air Force Base.
"Warden Wesley and Lt. Colonel Metzger are proven leaders who have earned the respect of their colleagues and communities over the course of their careers," Phelps said in a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, Delaware State Police are continuing a criminal investigation into the inmate uprising and Floyd's death.
Gov. John Carney also has ordered a separate, independent investigation. A preliminary report is expected by June 1.
Floyd's family and five other officers who survived the prison riot have sued the state in federal court, blaming the deadly uprising on security and staffing problems that officials had ignored for years.