Under Siege: Hostage, inmates released; negotiations continue

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In a press conference shortly after 8:00 P.M., officials said 82 inmates remained in the building along with 2 hostages. Officials are not sure as they do not know the dynamics of the takeover, if the inmates released through the ordeal were involved in the takeover or not.

Smyrna: The Smyrna prison siege continues into the early evening hours as eight inmates were released to authorities at about 5:20 P.M. Those inmates are reportedly being held in another building on the compound. Negotiations continued for several more hours and at about 8:00 P.M, a second hostage as well as nineteen more inmates were released to authorities.

In a press conference shortly after 8:00 P.M., officials said 82 inmates remained in the building along with 2 hostages. Officials are not sure as they do not know the dynamics of the takeover, if the inmates released through the ordeal were involved in the takeover or not.

Authorities also say that they were not aware of the two phone calls made to the News Journal and any demands would not be met until the hostages were released. They say that negotiations are ongoing at this hour.

Richard Coupe, secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said authorities had been communicating with the hostage-takers via radio. Inmates in Building C have access to television and may have been watching the news conferences live, he said.

“We’d like to tell them we want to resolve this peacefully,” he said.

“Once this matter is resolved safely, then that will be the time to talk if the inmates want to talk about conditions, privileges, those types of things,” he said.

Delaware Gov. John Carney spoke briefly, saying he had talked with the hostages’ families.

“As you can imagine, it’s been very difficult for them as well,” the governor said.

Later in the evening at about 12:30 A.M., fourteen more inmates were released to authorities.

Emergency responders from nearby Pennsylvania and Maryland were called in to assist at the prison siege. The FBI and the Delaware State police continue to negotiate Thursday morning for the remaining two hostages.

The last incident to happen at the facility was on July 12, 2004, inmate Scott A. Miller abducted and raped a prison counselor. Miller, a convicted serial rapist, was serving a 699-year prison sentence at the Delaware Correctional Center – now Vaughn Correctional Center – when he passed through two security checkpoints armed with a homemade knife before taking Cassandra Arnold hostage for nearly seven hours, sexually assaulting her during the ordeal. The standoff ended when a corrections officer shot Miller to death.

The JTVCC is a Level 5 (prison) facility for men located near Smyrna, Delaware, in southern New Castle County. The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is the state’s largest adult, male correctional facility. Currently, JTVCC houses approximately 2,500 inmates. JTVCC houses minimum, medium, and maximum security inmates. JTVCC is also the primary facility for housing the Kent County pre-trial (detainee) population. It also used to house inmates sentenced to the death penalty. Executions were carried out at the JTVCC, until late last year when a federal court ruled that executions were unconstitutional.

This is a developing breaking News Alert! Check back for updates to this story, as it will be updated if any new information is released.

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