Crackdown: Escapees’ prison gets new boss, new rules

NY prison

New York correctional authorities on Wednesday ordered a new batch of security measures at the prison where two convicted murderers escaped last month and triggered a 22-day manhunt.

Staff at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora will conduct weekly inspections of prisoners’ cells, gates will be installed in tunnels beneath the maximum-security facility, and electrical boxes will be checked to ensure they haven’t been tampered with, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Services said.

The department also named Michael Kirkpatrick as the new superintendent of Clinton Correctional, and tasked him with improving security at the prison. He was most recently deputy superintendent at another maximum-security facility, Elmira Correctional, and was formerly in charge of the prison system’s emergency response team.

The state on Tuesday suspended Clinton Correctional’s superintendent and 11 other staffers in the wake of the brazen June 6 jailbreak in which murders Richard Matt and David Sweat used hacksaws to break out of their cells and escape through a tunnel system.

Matt, 49, was shot and killed by a law enforcement tactical team hunting the pair in Malone, N.Y., on Friday. Sweat, 35, was shot and wounded in the town of Constable, near the Canadian border, on Sunday. He is in fair condition at a hospital.

Two prison workers have been criminally charged in connection with the jail break. Joyce Mitchell, an instructor in the tailor shop, allegedly brought hacksaw blades and other contraband into the prison stashed in raw meat, and a prosecutor said she planned to pick up both men after the escape but got cold feet and backed out.

Gene Palmer, a guard at the prison, has been charged with promoting prison contraband and official misconduct.

Palmer told police he granted Matt and Sweat special access outside of their cells and gave them supplies, but did not know they planned to escape. Sweat also told police after his capture that Mitchell was the only worker involved in the breakout, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie has said.

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