History was made in Delaware Monday as Claire DeMatteis became the first woman to be sworn in as Commissioner of Correction.
As family members, elected officials and many DOC officers and employees looked on, DeMatteis took the oath of office at the correctional administrative and training complex in Dover.
She has become very familiar with the system and its operations over the past two years as a special assistant. First, DeMatteis oversaw reforms based on the findings of an independent review commission that examined the 2017 Vaughn Prison riot that resulted in the murder of Lieutenant Steven Floyd.
Most recently, DeMatteis' focus has been on re-entry.
"We will face challenges. It is the nature of the job we signed up for," DeMatteis said shortly after she was sworn in. "But with the memory of Lieutenant Steven Floyd and the ultimate sacrifice he and his family made for us never far from our hearts and souls, we will meet every challenge and exceed every expectation - because we have what it takes."
"We have what it takes to carry out the dual mission entrusted to us - the dual mission of public safety and second chances," DeMatteis added.
“Commissioner DeMatteis has worked hard over the past two years helping lead reform efforts at the Department of Correction – modernizing equipment and training to make our facilities safer, and helping recruit correctional officers to do one of the toughest jobs in state government. Most recently, she has worked across state agencies to implement new re-entry initiatives to help more inmates successfully transition back into their communities,” Governor John Carney said. “She is the best person to take on the difficult job as our next Commissioner of Correction, and I look forward to continuing our work together.”
DeMatteis later told WDEL her in-depth work with the DOC led her to the realization that its employees have some of the toughest jobs in the state and that they carry out their work with "heart and compassion."
"When you've been around that for two years, you want to be a part of that."