Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Anti-Trump Rebellion Strikes Delaware Prison
08:16PM, FEBRUARY 1, 2017

SMYRNA, Delaware — Another corrections employee and more than two dozen inmates were released from a Delaware prison building where inmates had taken hostages, leaving authorities negotiating over the release of two more staffers.

Authorities initially said five staff members had been taken hostage Wednesday, February 1st at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. But at a news conference Wednesday night they reduced that number to four and said two of those people had been released. One was freed earlier Wednesday afternoon, the other Wednesday evening.

Robert Coupe, secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said 27 inmates also left the building that’s been the scene of negotiations all day.

Authorities said they didn’t know whether the inmates had been held against their will.

Corrections employees were still being held hostage Wednesday hours after a standoff unfolded at a Delaware prison, according to the Delaware State Police.

One hostage was released around 2:40 p.m, about four hours after the hostage situation began, said Sgt. Richard Bratz, a state police spokesman.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of everyone involved and using all of our available resources,” Bratz told reporters.

Inmates reached out to a newspaper in two phone calls to explain their concerns, including the leadership of the U.S., educational opportunities, rehabilitation and how the state spends money on prisons.

Prisoners funneled the calls Wednesday to The News Journal in Wilmington with the help of one inmate’s fiancee and another person’s mother. The mother told the paper her son was among the hostages.

In that call, an inmate said their reasons “for doing what we’re doing” included “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.”

That caller said education for prisoners was the inmates’ priority. They also sought effective rehabilitation for all prisoners and information about how money is allocated to prisons.

Bratz said the incident began around 10:32 a.m. when a corrections officer radioed for immediate assistance from inside a building that houses more than 100 inmates. Corrections officers responded and the facility was placed under lockdown, Bratz said.

That’s when the employees were taken hostage, he said.

Bratz said the employee who was released was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

It is unknown if there are any other injuries, said Bratz, but FBI and Delaware state police are continuing negotiations.

“It’s a very scary situation right now,” Geoff Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware, said earlier during the standoff.

Citing the officers association, CNN-affiliate KYW said four guards and one counselor were taken hostage by inmates. One guard was released, the station reported.

The Kent County Fire Department responded to the prison around 11:30 a.m. after an alarm was sounded, KYW reported.

The correctional facility is about 90 miles east of Washington.

Built in 1971, it houses about 2,500 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security inmates, including death row inmates, according to the state bureau of prisons.

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