Prison probe continues: Prison Workers Leave

Published: July 1, 2015

Prison probe continues: Prison Workers Leave, Recaptured escapee David Sweat has told police that he and Richard Matt conducted a practice run of their prison break the night before they disappeared from Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, a state official says.

Agents with the state Inspector General’s office have been trying to figure out how the convicted murderers were able to leave their cells at night to escape, and had been looking into whether guards had fallen asleep, officials have told CNN.

The admission that the inmates actually practiced making their way to freedom was the first of perhaps many shocking details officials hope Sweat gives up so they can understand how security broke down.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie told CNN in an email that Sweat said that he and Matt started planning their escape in January. They cut through steam pipes to get to an underground tunnel system.

The night before they broke out, Sweat and Matt went through the tunnels and reached a manhole, but decided it wasn’t isolated enough, Wylie said. They decided to escape from a different manhole.

“To make a dry run and … have the ability to escape, and then go back in, it is a little baffling,” Wylie told NBC News.

Three members of Clinton Correctional Facility’s executive team, along with nine security staff employees, have been placed on paid administrative leave as part of the review of the escape, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Superintendent Steven Racette and Deputy Superintendent Stephen Brown are among the executives on leave, a state official told CNN on Tuesday. The other is First Deputy Superintendent Donald Quinn, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

The official had been briefed on the convicts’ elaborate escape from the maximum security lockup. For about three weeks, searchers combed terrain in upstate New York. On Friday, Richard Matt was shot and killed. David Sweat was shot and captured Sunday.

The FBI is investigating possible broader corruption at the prison, law enforcement officials briefed on the case said Monday. Agents are looking into whether drug trafficking or other criminal behavior among employees and inmates took place, officials said. Some employees who have been questioned told investigators that there was heroin use among prisoners and an alleged drug trade involving employees.


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