The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

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Prisoner on the Loose!

The recent events from the Chester County prison have brought the reality of incarceration back to the northeast. Danelo Cavalcante has affected the lives of students in Pennsylvania, the comfort of people in their own homes, and the awareness of prisons around the northeast. Though Cavalcante affected Pennsylvanian residents the most, his presence in the Northeast was unsettling enough to affect the everyday lives of Delawareans.

People everywhere have been on edge ever since the escape of 34-year-old Danelo Cavalcante. He escaped from Chester County prison on August 31, 2023, catching the eyes of thousands of people in the northeast. He managed to escape by climbing up the walls of his prison like a spider in an eerie manner to escape the guards. Surprisingly, most Delawareans are not aware of the location of nearby prisons. When Izzy Winchell ‘26 was asked about her knowledge of nearby prisons, she responded by saying this, “I have never really thought of nearby prisons before, but if someone in the area were to escape, I would further educate myself on prisons in Wilmington.” The closest prison to Wilmington Friends residents is Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, which holds up to 1500 people. More specifically, it contains only male prisoners. Winchell ‘26 expressed how more activity in a prison could end up educating people around the area. Mary Robertson agrees, “This is making people more aware of the problems of incarceration.” In conclusion, the majority of people living in Delaware are not aware of local prisons and should begin to educate themselves.

Though thousands of people were affected by his escape, the majority were students. Not only were their personal lives affected, but their academic lives as well. Natalie Baram ’25 is a current junior at Unionville High School. At the beginning of her school year, Baram and her classmates encountered this unusual obstacle. When asked how her academic life was impacted, Baram responded, “We had off from school for three days but still had to keep up with the demanding homework for every class!” Academics were not the only large change for these students, as their social and personal lives were also affected. Many teenagers who were once allowed to stay out as late as they wanted were given curfews and other restrictions for their own safety. Along with all her friends, Baram was given a curfew of 11. This greatly impacted her by limiting time spent with friends. Students in Pennsylvania were forced to overcome the mess the Danelo Cavalcante stirred up in their social and academic lives.

Another huge impact of his escape was the comfort of people living nearby. Alexa Donahue ’22 decided to share her story on how Danelo Cavalcante impacted her. “I went to visit a friend in West Chester when Cavalcante escaped. I didn’t think too much of it until he broke into my friend’s neighbor’s house! I didn’t find out right away but I took the hint when I saw police officers crowding her neighborhood. My friend was too spooked and asked me if we could go and stay at my house until he was finally caught!” Not only was Donahue too uncomfortable to stay, but her friend was just as scared. Alexa knew that she needed to help, and that’s exactly what she did! In this case, Cavalcante literally chased people out of their own homes. Hundreds of people felt uncomfortable in their one “safe space”, all due to the chain of violent events that followed Cavalcante’s escape .

The escape of Danelo Cavalcante is such a unique story due to the ripple effect he created on the Delaware and Pennsylvania area. His escape made a mess of the safety of citizens nearby and the academic and social lives of students in local schools. Fortunately, it helped bring awareness of all the prisons near us. Cavalcante left a huge footprint on numerous people, and his story spread like wildfire across the Northeast.

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About the Contributor
Gianna Cottone, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Gianna Cottone. I am a sophomore. My goal this year is to write about current events/ news and updates in our community. I really enjoy writing in Whittier because I have so much freedom to write about anything that inspires me. Whittier is a very encouraging environment and helped me find my love fo writing.

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