The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office has charged an inmate at the county prison for a knife attack on another inmate on May 20 this year that left a 2.5 centimeter gash above the victim’s eye, according to the charging affidavit.

The charges come against a backdrop in which the union representing correctional officers has begun an online petition of no confidence against Warden Laura Williams, who was installed in the spring of 2022 when the county took over full management of the prison after nearly 30 years of being run by private companies.

The affidavit says on that Monday, a sergeant in the unit 7 cell block “observed inmate Kenneth Griffin running from the unit octagon with a towel on his face that was covered in blood. Griffin stated that while he was using the telephone in the dayroom he was stabbed in the face several times by an unknown individual. Due to the severity of his injuries he was transported to Crozer-Chester for treatment.”

“He was admitted to the hospital due to the 2.5 [centimeter] long wound above his eyebrow and a long cut on the side of his nose,” the affidavit also noted.

The district attorney’s office has charged 35-year old Thomas Deal of Philadelphia with two counts of aggravated assault, one “to cause…[bodily injury] with deadly weapon” and the second “to cause [serious bodily injury]…with extreme indifference,” and two other associated charges.

Chester police arrested Deal in January for more than a dozen felony and misdemeanor counts including robbery, strangulation, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and more.

The county declined to comment on this story.

Annual prison statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows that in 2022, the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Thornton experienced 79 inmate-on-inmate assaults, the third most of any county prison in the commonwealth. Allegheny’s prison, where Warden Williams previously worked, led the pack with 152 inmate-on-inmate assaults. That was followed by 111 at Lancaster, then Delaware County.

Annual statistics for 2023 are still being compiled by the DOC and should be available sometime this month.

Just days before the stabbing attack, Correctional Officer and union member Albert “Al” Johnson went before the county’s Jail Oversight Board to announce the impending petition of no confidence in Warden Williams.

“There’s some things that you really, guys, I really would hope that you would look into and not think that we’re blowing air in your face or just trying to be — I want to say — chaotic in there. It is a very, very dark, dark place inside that jail.”

Days later, Johnson began a petition on, which as of this publishing has over 480 signatures. Broad + Liberty, is unable, however, to say how many of those signatures belong to current employees of the facility.

At a meeting of the full county council on May 15, corrections officer Ken Webb addressed more concerns.

“You find shanks every single day,” Webb told the group. “I don’t care what anybody tells you. You find shanks every single day.”

Broad + Liberty also previously reported on a five-on-one inmate attack from January in which there appeared to be no guards present to prevent the violence. The affidavit says the attackers were able to stomp the face of the victim, and then had enough time to try to clean blood from the scene in an attempt to hide their actions.

County leadership is unshaken, however.

“Council has full confidence in the leadership of Warden Williams,” it said in a statement to the Delaware County Daily Times. “In her two years serving the county, Warden Williams has been tirelessly dedicated to transforming the county’s correctional facility.”

The county says the complaints are largely a bargaining tactic as the union is still trying to negotiate a new labor agreement under new management.

The county is also facing new legal pressures related to the prison. More than a dozen former correctional officers filed suit in federal court alleging the county improperly fired them just after the county took over management of the prison in April of 2022.

More recently, the family of Nathan Funkhouser filed suit against the county in response to Funkhouser’s death in the facility, also in April of 2022. Shad Bocella is accused of strangling Funkhouser in a cell they shared. 

In another report from Broad + Liberty, a former guard in the facility said Boccella and Funkhouser were both known to be dangerous, and were never meant to be in the same cell, but that someone in the facility overrode or disregarded those assessments when placing them in the same cell.

Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at, or use his encrypted email at @shepherdreports

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