One officer released in hostage situation at Vaughn prison

A Delaware State Police vehicle rushes to James T Vaughn Correctional Center Wednesday afternoon. (Special to the Delaware State News/Doug Curran)

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UPDATE: One correctional officer, held in a morning hostage situation at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, has been released.

In a 5 p.m. press conference, Delaware State Police Spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said the officer was removed by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries.

The hostage situation began just after 10:30 a.m. in Building C, which house approximately 100 inmates, Sgt. Bratz said.

An officer radioed for assistance and multiple corrections staffers were taken hostage at that point, said Sgt. Bratz.

No additional information is available on the hostage situation still taking place in the prison.


SMYRNA – The Delaware Department of Correction acknowledged Wednesday that “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 correctional officers union leader earlier in the day confirmed a hostage situation at the state’s largest prison.

President of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware Geoff Klopp said, “We’re hearing that three to five correctional officers have been taken hostage and the inmates have control of the building,” he said.

The incident was first reported at 10:55 a.m. when Citizens’ Hose Company received a call and proceeded to the facility at 1181 Paddock Road. Clayton and Cheswold run logs also showed their companies responded.

Shortly after, observers reported a helicopter circling the prison and around 1 p.m., six ambulances from various companies arrived within 10 minutes.

The prison was placed on lockdown along with all other Level V DOC facilities statewide.

Delaware State Police said they were providing support for the incident, but declined to give details.

According to the Department of Correction website: 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.

At Legislative Hall, where budget meetings were underway Wednesday, some representatives left the meeting to take calls from Gov. John Carney, whose office declined to comment and referred a reporter to the Department of Correction statement.

The last major incident occurred at Vaughn in 2004 when a 27-year-old prison counselor was abducted and raped July 12 by inmate Scott A.Miller at the Delaware Correctional Center near Smyrna. Miller was eventually shot and killed by a correctional officer after a nearly seven-hour standoff.


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