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Geiselnahme Delaware
LIVE: Hostage Situation in Delaware

Die Vernunft kann sich mit größerer Wucht dem Bösen entgegenstellen, wenn der Zorn ihr dienstbar zur Hand geht.
Audio: Inmates want better treatment at Smyrna prison

Through a hostage, the prisoners called it a rebellion.

Around 2 p.m. The News Journal received a call from a woman who said her fiancé is an inmate at the state prison in Smyrna and is being held hostage. A man’s voice was patched onto the line and he was asked by hostage takers to relay demands to The News Journal.

"I'm just doing what I'm being told to. I'm just trying to help, ma'am. They just need somebody to hear their demands," said the voice on the other end of the line belonging to someone obviously shaken and unwilling to give his name because he'd been instructed not to.

But the demands that followed made little sense, but gave the impression of a manifesto or decree. What was clear was the message the hostage takers meant involved prison reforms.

"Improper sentencing orders. Status sheets being wrong. Oppression towards the inmates," the voice continued.

Still unresolved, the standoff in Smyrna is tense as police and emergency personnel presence swarm about a prison overrun by its inmates.

Wednesday morning at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna became a hostage situation after prisoners overcame safeguards and put an unidentified number of people under threat of violence, according to corrections department spokeswoman Jayme Gravell.

All other Delaware prisons were put on lockdown in response, which is standard protocol.

Dozens of police vehicles, as well as ambulances, continued to pour into the entrance to Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. Helicopters were also circling over the prison and the nearby areas. At least one ambulance was scene leaving the scene.

The Blood Bank of Delmarva sent out a Tweet just before 12:30 p.m. requesting donations of O-type blood and platelets “to go to Smyrna.”

Rick Thomas, the blood bank’s vice president of blood services, said the request was a precautionary measure.
“A hospital in that area contacted us and asked us to boost their supply,” he said. “They are expecting patients to be brought in.”

The closest hospital to the Vaughn Correctional Center is Bayhealth Kent General. Christiana Care Health Systems also operates the Middletown Emergency Center, an intermediate emergency care facility off Del. 299.

A spokesperson with Bayhealth was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for Christiana Care directed all questions the Delaware Department of Correction.

State Rep. William Carson, a member of the House Corrections Committee, said he had been told it was an “apparent hostage situation.”

“The inmates have taken over a building,” he said.
Carson said details were still scarce and said he had no more information.

DOC released no other details. Gravell said it is protocol to lock down all state prisons when an emergency occurs at one of them.

Prisoners funneled a second call to The News Journal through a woman who said her son was in Vaughn Correctional and was being held hostage.

"We’re trying to explain the reasons is for doing what we’re doing. Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he’s doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse. We know the institution is going to change for the worse. We got demands that you need to pay attention to, that you need to listen to and you need to let them know," the caller told The News Journal. "Education, we want education first and foremost. We want a rehabilitation program that works for everybody. We want the money to be allocated so we can know exactly what is going on in the prison, the budget."

Staff was on scene trying to gather details and handle the situation, Gravell said. Area firefighters were called to the scene, she said, but the particulars of what prompted the call were not immediately available.

While few details have been released, officials will surely review what procedures were in place that created this situation just as they did when inmate Scott A. Miller abducted and raped a prison counselor on July 12, 2004.

Miller, a convicted serial rapist, was serving a 699-year prison sentence at the Delaware Correctional Center – now Vaughn Correctional Center – when he passed through two security checkpoints armed with a homemade knife before taking Cassandra Arnold hostage for nearly seven hours, sexually assaulting her during the ordeal.

The standoff ended when a corrections officer shot Miller to death.
A task force investigating security lapses at the prison found that a staff shortage at the prison, and other state penal facilities, forced officers to work large amounts of overtime.

The investigation also made dozens of recommendations for improving the safety of employees and inmates there, including the need for additional cameras to properly monitor prison inmates, and need for better communications equipment for correction officers and vacant correction officers positions needed to be filled as quickly as possible.
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The incident brought promises that changes would occur in the state's prison system, but in a 2006 interview with The News Journal, Arnold said she didn’t think anything had been done.
Die Vernunft kann sich mit größerer Wucht dem Bösen entgegenstellen, wenn der Zorn ihr dienstbar zur Hand geht.

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