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Prisoners Take Employees Hostage At Del. Maximum Security Prison

SMYRNA, Del. (WJZ) — Inmates at a Delaware prison took four corrections department workers hostage Wednesday.

Ava-Joye Burnett reports two of the workers were released and two are still being held hostage in building C and 27 inmates have been released.

The incident has been going on for more than 12 hours. State officials say the state is having to negotiate with prisoners.

“We put all the resources that we have to bear–to get our employees out,” Delaware Gov. John C. Carney Jr. said.

The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna is the largest prison for male inmates in Delaware. Some are on death row, about 100 inmates were in the building fellow prisoners took control of.

 “We don’t know the dynamics of the takeover and we don’t know the dynamics of if any inmates were held against their will,” Secretary Robert Coop of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security said.

There have been reports of brewing discontent in the prison population. Someone even called a Delaware paper to broadcast a list of demands.

By late Wednesday night, two workers and more than 20 inmates were released, but the situation is not over. Two workers are still being held hostage outnumbered by inmates.

“Right now we’re just currently praying for the safety of all the staff members,” Geoffrey Klopp of the Correctional Officers Association said.

The two workers who were released have non life-threatening injuries.

Now there are plenty of details officials could not release because they think the inmates could be watching updates from the media.

According to the department’s website, the prison is Delaware’s largest correctional facility for men. It houses minimum, medium, and maximum security inmates, and also houses Kent County detainees awaiting trial. It employs 1,500 corrections officers, according to authorities.

The prison opened in 1971 and was the site of the state’s death row and where executions were carried out.

In 2004, an inmate there 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.

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