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Five things you need to know about: The Clinton Prison Break

By Daria Laycock

1.) The Inmates

Inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora New York on June 6. Convicted of killing a sheriff’s deputy Sweat, 35, was sentenced to life without parole. Charged with kidnapping, torture, and dismemberment Matt, 48, was serving 25 years to life. The maximum security prison is located a 3 hour drive or 2 day walk from the U.S. Canadaian Border.


2.) They had a plan

Investigators say Sweat and Matt had been planning their escape for weeks or even months before they executed their plan. The men worked with power tools for 5 hours most nights while other inmates were asleep. They broke away the bricks from behind their cells and discovered a tunnel system which they then used to escape using a steam pipe and then up through a man hole.


3) They had a woman on the inside

Joyce Mitchell, 51, an employee of the prison has been charged with abetting Sweat and Matt’s escape. Mitchell worked in the prison tailoring shop where she taught inmates how to sew and how to fix sewing machines. Her position gave her access to hacksaw blades, chisels, and screwdrivers which she provided to the felons for their breakout. Mitchell had also been tasked with driving the get away car though stress got the better of her and she checked herself into a hospital for anxiety related reasons leaving the men to continue the journey alone. Reports have suggested Mitchell had a romantic relationship with one of the criminals. She is facing charges and has been suspended from her job at the correctional facility without pay. Her husband and children maintain her innocence.


4.)They were confident

Matt and Sweat had planned their escape for sometime. Mitchell said that even after they had broken through the walls and discovered the system of tunnels the men did not leave immediately. She says they often went down into the tunnels and explored them in attempts to find the best possible route out. The two had acquired power tools which they used in the scheme despite the tool’s reputation for being noisy. Other inmates report seeing the two with modern cellphones even though they had been locked up for some time. It is evident they took care in planning their depart. Judging by the amount of time they have remained missing they have good reason to be confident.


5.) The search continues

The search, currently in its ninth day, now involves 800 law enforcement officers each working 12 hour shifts. The search force is going door to door and doing property searches. Locals are said to be competly cooperating with their efforts and even providing the authorities with food to sustain the search. Canadian border control is on alert for illegal border crossers.

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