An unknown number of inmates at the the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware took four corrections officers hostage early Wednesday morning.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m., one of the corrections officers radioed for help from the C building at the all-male Delaware prison, which holds about 2,500 minimum, medium, and maximum security inmates, according to the prison's website. Four Department of Corrections employees were taken hostage. At around 2 p.m., the tipline of the News Journal in Delaware received a phone call from a woman claiming to be the fiancée of an inmate at the prison who was being held hostage. All of a sudden, a man was patched onto the line, telling the News Journal that he was asked by hostage takers to relay their demands.
The paper reports that their demands "came in the form of a manifesto or decree and mostly called for prison reforms," which included "improper sentencing orders. Status sheets being wrong. Oppression towards the inmates." When a different group of prisoners tapped into another line through a woman claiming her son was also being held hostage at the prison, they attempted to explain their reasoning behind the hostage situation, citing the actions of Donald Trump.
"We’re trying to explain the reasons for doing what we’re doing," one of the voices on the call said. "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. 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."
At around 2:30 p.m., one of the corrections officers was released. Eight inmates were then let go at 5:20 p.m. Just before 8 p.m., another staffer was released, along with 19 inmates. Two Department of Corrections employees are believed to be inside the prison. All prisons in the state have been placed on lockdown.