08:54 GMT13 July 2020
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    All prisons in Delaware are on lockdown as a hostage situation unfolded at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna on Wednesday morning.

    Inmates reportedly took five guards hostage, though officials said there was “no threat to the public.” One has since been released, the others remain held at the prison.

    Just after noon local time, the Blood Bank of Delmarva sent out a tweet requesting O-type blood and platelets to "go to Smyrna."

    “A hospital in that area contacted us and asked us to boost their supply,” a represenatative for the blood bank told Delaware Online. “They are expecting patients to be brought in.”

    “Department of Correction Response Teams and the Delaware State Police are on scene responding to a hostage situation at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna,” the Delaware Department of Corrections said in a statement. “Department of Correction will release additional information as it is appropriate.”

    A woman claiming to be the mother of an inmate at the prison, who she said is being held hostage, patched him through to a reporter with the News Journal so that he could relay the demands from the hostage takers. The man relayed that a cop had been stabbed, before listing the demands.

    "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," the hostage said, declining to give their name.

    The demands were hard to understand, but the man on the phone cited "improper sentencing orders. Status sheets being wrong. Oppression towards the inmates."

    "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 paper. "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."

    The newspaper has given the audio recording to authorities.

    According to Representative William Carson, a member of the House Corrections Committee, details on what was unfolding was still scarce.

    “The inmates have taken over a building,” he told Delaware Online.

    Department of Correction Response Teams and the Delaware State Police responded to the situation at the male prison which houses 2,500 inmates with sections for minimum, medium and maximum security. The prison also houses those who are on death row. It is currently unclear which portion of the prison was taken over.

    Firefighters also arrived after reports of there being smoke at the scene.


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    Hostages, Prison, Vaughn Correctional Center, Delaware Department of Corrections, William Carson, Smyrna, Delaware
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