Corrections Officer Suspended After NY Prison Escape, Expert Says Escapees Won’t Survive In Wilderness

As escaped prisoners David Sweat and Richard Matt remain on the run, a New York state corrections officer was suspended on Friday in connection with their escape.

Yahoo! News reports that although authorities didn’t indicate how the corrections officer played a part in the escape, there is enough evidence to indicate that the officer helped Matt, 48, and Sweat, 35, break out of New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility on June 15. The correction officer’s name has not been disclosed yet.

The details on the suspension are still scarce, but the NY State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision released a statement today, stating that the suspension occurred after information emerged during the ongoing investigation into the inmates’ escape.

“A correction officer was placed on administrative leave this evening as part of the ongoing investigation into the escape at Clinton Correctional Facility.”

Investigators have been working non-stop on the case since the duo broke out of prison, which has led to numerous details involving another prison worker, Joyce Mitchell, 51.

Mitchell, a former prison tailor at Clinton Correctional, was fired from her position and arrested for allegedly assisting Sweat and Matt with escape plans, by providing tools used to cut through prison walls and wires.

Joyce Mitchell

Additionally, Mitchell is accused of having an affair with both inmates, while plotting a murder attempt on her husband, Lyle Mitchell, also an employee at the prison.

Authorities aren’t saying if there is more information about Mitchell to come, but they do indicate there is enough evidence to back up the charges.

“(We) won’t characterize if we have all information we need from Joyce Mitchell at this point.”

Meanwhile, experts recently weighed in on the inmates’ survival skills, and how far they can get without necessities. Pat Patten, an expert on helping catch suspects on the run, states that unless the inmates already had a set plan and the correct equipment to help them, they won’t get too far.

“They can disappear very easily but to survive is another story, and that’s really predicated on their plan and their equipment and, of course, their abilities.”

Patten also indicated that the prisoners are probably not accustomed to surviving in the wilderness, and they’ll more than likely interact with the public, which is how most fugitives get caught.

Both Matt and Sweat are now on the U.S. Marshals Services 15 Most Wanted fugitives list. Per Stacia Hylton, director of the U.S. Marshals Services, people who are placed on the top 15 list are considered “the worst of the worst.”

The escapees are considered armed and dangerous, and if seen in public, authorities urge people to not approach them. Instead, call 911 immediately.

[Photos Courtesy of the New York State Police]