An attorney who helped lead prison reform efforts after a deadly inmate riot has been tapped by Delaware Gov. John Carney to head the state’s corrections system.

Carney on Tuesday announced the nomination of Claire DeMatteis to replace Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps.

Phelps plans to retire July 15 following a brief tenure marked by the riot, lawsuits alleging mistreatment of inmates, and chronic staffing and morale problems.

Carney hired DeMatteis in 2017 as a special assistant to help implement recommendations contained in a review of the February 2017 riot at Vaughn Correctional Center.

The review found that DOC officials’ dismissal of warnings about trouble brewing at the prison reflected an overcrowded, understaffed facility plagued by mismanagement, poor communication, a culture of negativity and adversarial relationships among prison staff, administrators and inmates.

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