Reuters International

(Reuters) - Inmates at a prison in Delaware held two correctional staff members hostage early on Thursday as they demanded improved conditions and a chance to speak with senior officials, according to local media reports.

Some 14 inmates were released at 12:30 a.m. local time from the hostage situation and moved to another part of the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, a men's prison in the town of Smyrna, where an uprising had begun a day earlier, an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia reported.

Inmates were demanding improved conditions and wanted to speak with senior officials, the website of the News Journal of Delaware reported, citing phone calls with people inside the prison that were relayed through relatives of prisoners.

Two other workers were released on Wednesday, though the two correctional staff members were still being held. One of the freed workers was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Delaware State Police spokesman Sergeant Richard Bartz told reporters.

Armoured vehicles, SWAT teams and emergency medical personnel converged on the prison, the News Journal of Delaware reported, and aerial video from WPVI television showed dozens of uniformed officers amassed in formation.

"We've put all the resources that we have to bear to get our employees out," Delaware Governor John Carney told a news conference on Wednesday evening.

The prison, 40 miles (64 km) south of the city of Wilmington, holds about 2,500 inmates, including some with death sentences, according to the prison's website.

More than 20 inmates caught up in the uprising were released during the day, Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps told reporters.

A correction officer radioed for help early Wednesday from the C building, which houses more than 100 inmates, police spokesman Bartz said.

The News Journal reported receiving a call from a woman who said her fiancé was an inmate being asked to relay demands, and said the voice an of unidentified man was patched onto the line.

Robert Coupe, secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said later: "Once this matter is resolved safely, then that will be the time to talk."

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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