A corrections officer has been left dead following a nearly 20-hour stand-off and hostage crisis at a Delaware prison.
The uprising was put down when state police seized control of the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna on Wednesday morning. Inmates took four guards hostage to protest harsh conditions at the facility and to demand educational and other programs for prisoners.
Some inmates managed to establish phone contact with the Wilmington News Journal to state their demands. One 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.”
All of Delaware’s prisons were placed on lockdown in response to the uprising, although Vaughn was the only site of resistance.
The law-and-order CorrectionsOne website opined: “Every inmate involved with this incident must be held accountable for the death of a DOC employee. Inmates preaching for rehabilitation and change by using violence is a clear indication and proof these inmates are violent offenders and must remain in prison.”
In contrast, the anarchist-oriented It’s Going Down recalled that the rebellion at Vaughn comes on the heels of last fall’s national prisoner strike, which involved at least 29 prisons in 12 states. Although it received shamefully little media attention, the national strike highlighted abusive conditions in facilities coast-to-coast and chronic overcrowding due in large part to the War on Drugs.
According to a federal report released in December, Delaware ranks fifth among all 50 states for overcrowding in its prison system. The state also has the third highest percentage of inmates in solitary confinement.