Inmates at the largest state prison for men in Delaware took four corrections department workers and fellow prisoners hostage Wednesday in a stand-off with authorities that had yet to be resolved more than 16 hours later on Thursday morning, forcing prisons across the state to enter lockdown.
By early Thursday morning, the state Department of Correction said two employees and 82 inmates remained inside the seized prison block, though it was unclear how many were hostages as opposed to hostage-takers.
Throughout the standoff, two of the prison employees — one of whom had non-life threatening injuries — and 46 inmates had been released in four groups by the hostage-takers, who said their rebellion was a direct response to President “Donald Trump.”
“Everything that he did. All the things that he’s doing now,” they said during the second of two manifesto-like phone calls to a local newspaper. “We know that the institution is going to change for the worse.”
The inmates demanded education “first and foremost,” a “rehabilitation program that works for everybody” and a comprehensive look at the prison’s budget and spending, according to audio of the calls posted online by the News Journal in Wilmington, Del., located about 40 miles north of Smyrna, where the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center has been since 1971.
The prison is the largest adult male correctional facility in the state, housing about 2,500 minimum, medium and maximum security inmates, according to the Department of Correction website. It is the landing place for people who have not yet been convicted of a crime and those who have been sentenced to death. Executions are carried out there, according to the website.
Inmate complaints about treatment within the prison, substandard medical care and poor record-keeping have increased in the past year, Stephen Hampton, an attorney from Dover who has represented prisoners in civil rights cases, told the Associated Press.
Rules prohibiting the commingling of pretrial inmates and those who have already been sentenced mean that detainees awaiting their day in court are locked up for much of the day, Hampton told the AP. These people do not have access to gyms or libraries and,…