New warden, increased security after New York jail escape

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AP Photo/Mike Groll

A guard stands on the wall at Clinton Reformatory on Monday, June 8, 2015, in Dannemora, N.Y. 2 murderers who left from the jail by cutting through steel walls and pipes remain on the loose Monday as authorities investigate how the prisoners acquired the power devices utilized in the breakout.

Thursday, July 2, 2015|12:05 a.m.

ALBANY, N.Y.– A new superintendent has been named at the maximum-security prison in upstate New york city where two prisoners left last month, and a variety of new security procedures has actually been put in place.

The state correction department announced Wednesday that 30-year correction veteran Michael Kirkpatrick will certainly be the brand-new superintendent of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. He replaces Steven Racette, who was placed on paid leave Tuesday in addition to two of his deputies and 9 other employee, consisting of guards, after an internal review of how founded guilty killers David Sweat and Richard Matt left June 6.

Racette was called superintendent in May 2014, shortly after the retirement of his predecessor and just before a watchdog group launched a report on violence and racial stress in the prison.

Matt was shot dead Friday after a three-week manhunt. Sweat was shot and caught on Sunday.

The department stated new security measures consist of stepped-up searches of inmates’ cells, staffing modifications to guarantee bed checks are more efficient and installation of security gates in the facility’s tunnels.

Authorities said the inmates cut through their adjacent cell walls over months, climbed down catwalks to the tunnels, acquired professionals’ devices, broke through a brick wall, cut into and out of a steam pipeline and cut a chain holding a manhole cover outside the prison to get away. The prisoners packed clothes in their beds to make it look as though they were still there.

Authorities said they will briefly close the prison’s honor block, where the inmates escaped, and subject it to the same security limitations as other blocks. All professional device boxes are now to be kept in secure areas inaccessible to inmates and examined daily. A captain or higher rank is needed on every over night shift. Employee in remote locations are required to check in every half-hour.

Bed checks will be at differing periods, and each cell’s structural stability is to be inspected weekly, with a watching of the catwalks behind.

Sweat told cops that he and Matt carried out a practice run the night before their escape, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie stated Tuesday. The prisoner told cops from his hospital bed that he masterminded the breakout and started dealing with it in January.

The escape by Sweat and Matt introduced a large 23-day manhunt amidst the rugged northern New york city terrain involving more than 1,100 law enforcement officers.

Matt, 49, was shot and eliminated by a border patrol officer in Malone, about 30 miles from the jail. Sweat, 35, was injured by a state trooper not far away, near the Canadian border.

Wylie said Sweat declared he used only a hacksaw blade– not power tools, as officials had actually reported– to cut holes in the steel walls of his and Matt’s cells and in a steam pipe they crawled through.

Wylie said Sweat claimed to have actually done all the work himself, saying the older Matt had not been in shape to do it. Sweat stated he lurked the tunnels within the jail from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., after lights-out and before the early morning headcount, in the days preceding the escape with Matt, according to Wylie, who was briefed by state authorities on the enduring inmate’s statements.

Authorities said the inmates reached the tunnels through an indoor catwalk, slim utility passages between cellblocks offering access to the bowels of the jail. Authorities stated the prisoners were admitted to the catwalk by a guard who has since been charged in connection with the breakout.

“He stated he had actually been out in the catwalk area for a number of weeks” before the breakout, Wylie stated.

Wylie stated the 2 convicts conducted a practice run the night prior to they left. He said the “dry run” took them through a tunnel connecting the jail to the streets of Dannemora.

Officials stated a tailor shop worker, Joyce Mitchell, got close to Sweat and Matt and provided them with hacksaw blades and other tools. She consented to be their trip motorist but backed out at the last moment, authorities said. She has pleaded not guilty.

A prison guard, Gene Palmer, told detectives he offered the convicts devices, art materials and access to a catwalk electrical box in exchange for paintings by Matt. But he said he never understood of their escape plans.

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