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When the Jailed Become the Jailers: Maximum Security Prison in Turmoil After Prisoners Take Officers Hostage

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At the James T. Vaughn Correctional Facility (JTVCC) in Smyra, Delaware, as reported by Delaware Online, inmates have taken over the maximum security prison and are thought to be holding several officers hostage. All Delaware prisons are now on lock down due to the events which are still unfolding.

The prisoners in this facility have “taken over the building” reported Rep. William Carson, a member of the House Corrections Committee.

Helicopters, fire-engines and police vehicles keep flooding into the prison. Updates can be seen here.

Delaware Prison

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Details are still scarce as to why the inmates have been incited to such action, and the Department of Corrections is currently releasing little information about the event; however, there is a little-known phenomenon documented in what is now called the Stanford Prison Experiment which may lend insight into the unfolding events.

In 1971, several dozen college students were rounded up and ‘booked’ on charges of armed robbery and burglary. They weren’t really criminals, though, but willing participants in a Stanford University study. They were taken to Stanford County Prison—also known as the Stanford University psychology department, where they were subjected to psychological abuse by the ‘prison wardens.’ All inmates in the study were carefully checked for family history, criminal backgrounds, and psychological dysfunction. Before being admitted they were all deemed “normal.”

At first the imprisoned took the abuse of their captors and were submissive, saying little in protest. The abuse was so extreme though, that the experiment was terminated in six days though it was meant to continue for six weeks.  It is important to point out that the treatment these ‘fake’ prisoners received is similar to what many of the incarcerated endure in an average prison, not even a high-security prison. (Including being strip-searched, de-loused, and being forced to wear dehumanizing prison dress which included chains around the ankles.)

What ensued is no more than psychological chaos, and showed that with very little incentive, many of us can become tyrants, or easy targets, based on the emotional and societal structures which support each of these roles.

Though the prison guards had been explicitly instructed not to use physical force prior to the study, they all became increasingly aggressive and violent, causing an equal response in the prisoners.

What the Stanford Prison Experiment detailed was that we all play roles in our lives. We can be domineering and aggressive or peace loving just as easily – with very little motivation in either direction.

Police Violence In and Out of Prisons

As police violence grows outside prison walls, you can imagine how prison wardens and guards might tend to behave inside institutions that regularly turn to violence, psychological humiliation, and de-humanization to keep people in check.

Police

Every seven seconds someone is killed by a law enforcement official in this country. Though some of these deaths may have been “justified” by criminal actions, many of these deaths are unnecessary and carried out on innocent individuals.

When we consider the group-think and herd mentality that causes Lord of the Flies type action, might it be better to utilize more peaceful methods for helping criminals change their actions – including criminal behavior by those charged with lording over the incarcerated?

Better Solutions 

For example, one man, Adam Verdoux was incarcerated for carrying out six different robberies, but has now learned how to cope with his fears and mental pain by meditating. He isn’t alone. Models based on incorporating meditation and yoga are being used all over the world to help lower recidivism rates. One prison in India where Gandhi was once jailed offers early release for prisoners who complete a yoga training program because it has been found to be so successful in rehabilitating prisoners.

Prison Yoga copy

Norway has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world with fewer than 4,000 people behind bars in a country with a population of 5 million. The country relies on a concept called “restorative justice,” which aims to repair the harm caused by crime rather than punish people. This system focuses on rehabilitating prisoners.  

Other prison systems are teaching prisoners important life skills that also happen to lower stress and help them deal with their anger. Insight Garden Program, which has been helping inmates at San Quentin rehabilitate and get training in flower gardening since 2003 and models which are similar have been helping inmates steer clear of a life of crime once they are no longer in prison.

Prison Garden copy

When the jailed become the jailers, it is time to look more closely at the way we treat each other as a whole. The prison industry cannot continue its deleterious treatment of the incarcerated and the over-jailing of innocent people.  As long as we jail people for profit, instead of trying to rehabilitate those who commit real crimes, instances like the Delaware prison hostage situation will likely only grow more frequent.  The uprising is happening in every aspect of our society.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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