ALBANY– Thirteen days after two convicted killers cut and hacksawed their way out of maximum security, in a stunning escape compared to a Hollywood film, the New York State Department of Corrections announced Thursday it was lifting the “lockdown” at the Clinton Correctional Facility that was in place since Saturday, June 6th.
Nearly three thousand inmates at the state’s largest, maximum security prison in Dannemora, New York have been confined to their cells 24 hours a day since corrections officers discovered David Sweat, 35, and Richard Matt,48, were missing at 5:30 am on June 6th.
The facility sits in a town known as “Little Siberia”, a colloquial name given because of its cold winters and relative isolation. The prison is roughly 25 miles south of the Canadian border.
The two convicted killers used hacksaws to cut open steel vents at the back of their adjacent cells. A female employee, Joyce Mitchell, admitted to state police that she gave the convicts hacksaw blades, drill bits, and lighted goggles to assist with their escape plan.
Mitchell was sexually involved with both men in the prison tailor shop, at different times during their incarceration.
She is currently in Rensselaer County Jail, after being arrested for her participation in the escape plot.
The Clinton County District Attorney acknowledged this week the killers planned to murder Mitchell’s husband, Lyle, after they got out, but Mitchell warned her spouse he was in danger.
Sweat, convicted in the 2002 fatal shooting of a Broome County Sheriff’s deputy, and Matt, who murdered and dismembered his former boss in 1997,remain at large.
Roughly 600 members of law enforcement remain on active search for the escapees in New York State, in an investigation that stretches from Canada to Mexico, where Matt once lived.
Now that lockdown has been lifted, a number of inmates will be allowed to return to work assignments within the prison.
All inmates will resume “out of cell” meals, recreation, and phone use.
It’s expected that inmate visitations will resume on Friday, June 19th.