Statement from the Vaughn 17 (06/01/2021)

The following statement was issued in coordination with Philly Anti-Repression on June 1, 2021 by members of the Vaughn 17 and other incarcerated community members subjected to abuse, neglect, and solitary confinement at SCI-Phoenix.

For those who are new to the Vaughn 17’s struggle for self-liberation, here is some context: On February 1, 2017, incarcerated community members confined in Delaware’s largest prison, the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, staged an uprising and took over Building C. Prisoners took guards hostage and called the media, bringing international attention to the prison’s overuse of solitary confinement and demanded humane living conditions, rehabilitation, and education programs. Phone negotiations lasted 18 hours between prisoners and prison officials.

One correctional officer died during the uprising and 18 prisoners were charged with multiple counts of murder, rioting, conspiracy and kidnapping. One of the original eighteen suspects in the rebellion turned and became the State’s star witness; another committed suicide.

Since 2017, participants of the Building C takeover, now known as “the Vaughn 17”, have endured ongoing retaliation by the State. This has included transfers across state lines to Pennsylvania and long-term solitary confinement under the euphemistic measures of “Intensive Management Units” and “Restricted Release”. Prolonged solitary confinement (more than 15 days) is considered torture by the United Nations.

To learn more about the Vaughn 17 visit: vaughn17.com and follow their supporters and defense group on Twitter and Instagram.

June 1, 2021

– The Vaughn 17

ALC is a nonprofit law firm fighting to protect prisoners, and a community organizing project aiming to build a world without prisons. abolitionistlawcenter.org

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