— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) February 1, 2017
DELAWARE: All Delaware prisons are on lockdown following an emergency situation. There is smoke coming from the maximum security James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and unconfirmed reports of hostages.
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) February 1, 2017
— Esteban Parra (@eparra3) February 1, 2017
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 houses inmates sentenced to the death penalty. Executions are carried out at the JTVCC.
JTVCC opened in 1971 with a capacity of 441. Expansions since then have increased the total bed capacity to over 2,600. In 1996, construction began on a $110 million, 888-bed addition. The expansion included 600 new maximum security cells, the addition of almost 26,000 linear feet (4.8 miles) of security fencing, the installation of 6 miles of razor wire, the construction of a new central tower and an additional perimeter tower, and the installation of new security cameras and enhanced observation points. The 600 maximum security cells have been constructed in six new housing units with 888 new beds. Three hundred cells have a single bed; 300 cells are double-bunked unless they are handicap-accessible in which case the cell is single bunked. All inmates are classified and assigned quality of life levels consistent with their criminal history, institutional behavior/history, threat to public safety and institutional safety and security, and program needs. The new addition houses the Security Housing Unit (SHU) and the Medium-High Housing Unit (MHU).
The SHU houses those inmates who have demonstrated that they cannot be housed in a lesser security setting and/or whose behavior and history are conducive to maximum security housing. In addition, inmates sentenced to the death penalty are housed in the Security Housing Unit. There are 300 cells in the SHU. Each cell is single-bunked. Inmates in the SHU are locked in their cells 23 hours a day. Inmates may use their one hour of out-of-cell time to shower and exercise. These inmates may have visitors, make telephone calls and have limited numbers of personal items in their cells including a radio, magazines, and books according to the inmate’s assigned quality of life level. Inmates, other than those sentenced to the death penalty, may earn their way out of the SHU by exhibiting appropriate behavior, complying with institutional rules and participating in treatment, education, and/or work programs.