Union: Another Violent Incident at Smyrna Prison - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Union: Another Violent Incident at Smyrna Prison

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Aerial view of the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. (Photo: WBOC Chopper 16) Aerial view of the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. (Photo: WBOC Chopper 16)

SMYRNA, Del.- Less than a week after a hostage incident at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center that left a correctional officer dead, there has been another violent incident at the maximum-security prison near Smyrna, according to the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware.

The union said in a press release that on Tuesday during showers the inmates were yelling and threatening the officers. According to the union, one inmate in particular was unruly and reportedly shouted again and again that he was going to kill all of the officers. The union said that when ordered into his cell, the inmate threw his belongings into the cell and allegedly said, "I'm taking one of you with me." The inmate then punched one officer in the face and fought others until he was finally restrained, according to the union. The union said the officer suffered cuts to the nose and forehead and bruising around the eyes. 

The union said that part of the problem is an agreement the state signed with the ACLU back in August that puts mental health advocates between the officers and the inmates. The union claims the problems arise when the advocate tells the inmate not to obey the officer.

In response to the union's press release, Delaware Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps released the following statement: 

"All individuals, whether mentally ill or severely mentally ill, are held accountable for their actions within acceptable medical guidelines. The individual accused of assaulting an officer at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on Feb. 7 was not on the mental health roster. In fact, he had not been seen or requested services from our medical contractor since November of 2015 when he was processed in to the facility. There is no evidence to validate the claims that mental health staff interfered and instructed the offenders not to comply with DOC officials. We’re confident Governor Carney’s independent investigation will identify any areas of concern with policies or procedures surrounding security operations and mental health relationships.”

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