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Inmates take guards hostage at Delaware maximum security prison

February 1, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Inmates take guards hostage at Delaware maximum security prison

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Inmates took guards hostage at a maximum security prison in Smyrna, Delaware, in a brazen attack Wednesday that forced corrections officials to lock down all of Delaware’s state prisons.

“The inmates have taken over a building,” Rep. William Carson, a member of the Delaware House Corrections Committee, told the Wilmington News Journal.

“We’re hearing that three to five correctional officers have been taken hostage, and the inmates have control of the building,” Geoff Klopp, the President of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, told the Delaware State News.

“Department of Correction Response Teams and the Delaware State Police are on scene responding to a hostage situation at James T. Vaughan Correction Center,” read a statement issued by the department.

The facility is the state’s largest male correctional center and houses approximately 2,500 inmates, according to its website.

Dozens of police vehicles and ambulances arrived at the scene Wednesday as helicopters circled above, the Wilmington News Journal added.

It is standard protocol to lock down all state prisons when an emergency occurs at any of them, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said.

Gravell described the situation as an isolated incident, adding that there was no threat to the public.

She added that firefighters were called to the scene after reports of smoke and were being held on standby.

Video from above the maximum security prison shows uniformed officers gathered in two groups along fences near an entrance to the prison. Later, video showed several people surrounding a stretcher and running as they pushed it across the compound. It wasn’t clear if a person was on the stretcher. People could be seen standing near a set of doors with an empty stretcher and wheelchair.

According to the department’s website, the prison is Delaware’s largest correctional facility for men, housing about 2,500 inmates. It houses minimum, medium, and maximum-security inmates, and also houses Kent County detainees awaiting trial. It is also the site of the state’s death row and where executions were carried out. The prison opened in 1971.

In 2004, an inmate raped a counselor and took her hostage for nearly seven hours at the Smyrna prison, according to an Associated Press report at the time. A department sharpshooter later shot and killed 45-year-old Scott Miller, according to the report, ending the standoff.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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