One of America’s greatest manhunts in recent times may have ended last week with one of two convicted fugitives injured and the other dead, but the actual escape gives us an unwanted reality about prison housing in the U.S.: the fact that close relations can sometimes form between inmates and prison workers.
On paper, this doesn’t like anything remotely negative: it could even prove that some of the inmates are on their way towards social reintegration. Granted, the two escapees – David Sweat and Richard Matt – didn’t had much chances of ever getting out, but positive behavior even in their case should be appreciated.
But the entirety of the Dannemora prison escape story showed only how dangerous people like the two murderers stand to manipulate their way with easy to fool prison staff, and correctional facilities around the country are probably paying increased attention to the relation between inmates and prison workers, maybe out of paranoia or maybe out of legit concern that the case will inspire similar attempts.
A month ago, Sweat and Matt’s disappearance from their cell was a strange affair. A manhole was dug out of their cell with power tools – which were somehow taken from contractors working ironically on reinforcing the facility’s walls. An internal investigation started at the Clinton Correctional Facility while thousands of police officers were searching for the two fugitives, and its results paint a strange picture.
It concluded that the convicted murderers escaped Clinton with the aid of established prison workers, who smuggled them the power tools and took care to cover the tracks until the escape took place. It also showed a stunning image on how two convicted murderers, at least one of which had a history with jailbreak attempts, were enjoying greater liberties due to their apparent good behavior.
51 year old Joyce Mitchell – who supervised the two in their prison tailor shop job – was the first one to be connected to the escape, and the story is rather shocking: she willingly helped the duo escape by giving them power tools and even promising to be their driver due to a romantic interest in Matt. And even after he threatened to murder her husband as she had a change of heart about the plan, she did not announce her superiors until the investigation into the escape started.
But if maybe that could be put on part of emotional manipulation, nothing really excuses the help that veteran guard Gene Palmer – who was in his 27th year of work at the facility – offered the two, apparently in exchange for paintings done by Richard Matt. Apparently, the veteran guard was tricked into giving them power tools by an appalling explanation: Sweat’s alleged desire to enhance the electrical boxes for prison cells.
In the end, it was proven that human weakness was more of a factor in the escape than any design flaws with the facility, and it paints an alarming picture – around the country, there are probably dozens of dangerous inmates who make their life behind bars significantly better in exchange for favors done for the prison staff, or even emotional manipulation. This makes their supposed time of reflection on their horrendous deeds obsolete, as they get to practice manipulation and demagogy instead of real resent.
Image Source: americanslander.com