1 hostage dead, another alert at Delaware prison

SMYRNA, Del. (AP) — The Latest on hostage situation at Delaware prison (all times local):

9:40 a.m.

Some Delaware prison rights advocates say they’re saddened but not surprised that a hostage situation at the state’s largest correctional facility led to the death of a corrections employee.

Dover attorney Stephen Hampton says he believes that inmates’ anger about conditions at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center played a part in the drama that ended Thursday morning. Three other staffers who were taken hostage survived.

Hampton says he hopes the tragedy will convince state officials to act on inmate complaints alleging substandard medical care and sloppy record-keeping that Hampton says has caused some inmates to be held longer than they should have been.

Activist Kenneth Abraham of Citizens for Criminal Justice says hostage-taking is not the answer but he’s not surprised it happened.

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8:45 a.m.

After the death of a correctional officer during a hostage situation in a prison, Delaware Gov. John Carney says the priority is to determine what happened and how.

In a statement released Thursday morning, Carney says officials will “hold accountable anyone who was responsible” after the hostage situation at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

Carney says they’ll “make whatever changes are necessary to ensure nothing like it ever happens again.”

Inmates took four correction workers hostage Wednesday morning, prompting a lockdown of all Delaware prisons. The inmates released one staffer in the afternoon and another Wednesday night. After police breached the building early Thursday, officials say one hostage was dead and another is alert and talking.

Gov. Carney says the correctional officer’s death is a tragic reminder that law enforcement officers risk their lives every day. He says he’s “praying hard” for the officer’s family.

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8:15 a.m.

Delaware prison officials say one hostage is dead and a second is alert and talking after authorities went into a building at the state’s largest prison where inmates took staff members hostage.

Officials announced in a statement Thursday morning that the building where the disturbance occurred at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center is now secure. The prison is in Smyrna, about 15 miles north of the state capital of Dover.

Officials say after police breached the building, one Department of Correction worker was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead.

The inmates took the hostages Wednesday morning, prompting a lockdown of all Delaware prisons. The inmates released one staffer in the afternoon and another Wednesday night. At least one of those staffers had injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening.

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4:55 a.m.

Officials say 14 more inmates have been released from a Delaware prison as authorities respond to a hostage situation there.

A news release from the Delaware Department of Correction says the 14 additional inmates were released around 12:30 a.m. Thursday and are being held elsewhere at the prison.

Authorities were still negotiating the release of two staffers after inmates took four corrections department workers hostage in a building at the prison Wednesday morning. Two employees at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna were later released. More than two dozen inmates were also previously released.

The corrections department says a total of 46 inmates and two corrections officers have now been released and that 82 inmates remain in the building.

Inmates reached out to a newspaper in two phone calls to explain their concerns, including the leadership of the U.S., educational opportunities, rehabilitation and how the state spends money on prisons.

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3:30 a.m.

Authorities were still negotiating the release of two staffers after Delaware prison inmates took four corrections department workers hostage.

Two employees and more than two dozen inmates had been released by the inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna by Wednesday evening. Authorities said they didn’t know whether the inmates had been held against their will.

Inmates reached out to a newspaper in two phone calls to explain their concerns, including the leadership of the U.S., educational opportunities, rehabilitation and how the state spends money on prisons.

Prisoners funneled the calls to The News Journal in Wilmington with the help of one inmate’s fiancee and another person’s mother. The mother told the paper her son was among the hostages.

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