Richard Matt and David Sweat’s daring prison break may have failed, but the drama is only just beginning over at Clinton Correctional Facility. Twelve prison workers have been placed on leave — including the superintendent — as the FBI investigates corruption at the maximum security facility.
This news comes as Sweat continues to tell tales from his Albany hospital bed, where his condition is improving daily. He has apparently told police that he and his accomplice practiced their escape the night before — June 5, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, agents with the New York State Inspector General’s Office have been wondering just how the two managed to leave their cells under guards’ watch, and have been looking into whether some guards were asleep at the time.
But this is just one of many shocking allegations resulting from an investigation into public corruption at the facility.
State Department of Corrections on Tuesday announced that 12 workers have now been placed on leave as a result of an investigation underway at the request of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Among these workers are the superintendent, his deputy, and a third executive. NBC News identified them as Steven Racette and Stephen Browne, respectively. The Wall Street Journal identified the third executive as Donald Quinn, first deputy. The remainder are security staff.
According to the Press Republican, investigators continue to pour over records, personnel files, and computer data.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also probing whether workers and inmates trafficked heroin at the facility, the Journal reported. So far, some workers have admitted that drug use among inmates is common, and alluded to a drug trade.
Agents will also determine if staff were involved in any other criminal behavior.
Heroin isn’t an uncommon feature of prison life, said former prisoner Louis Ferrante, who has done time in federal, state, and county facilities; each was “heroin-infested.”
“There is heroin use in every single prison. If the feds want to tackle this, they better get ready to take on a nationwide problem.”
The motivations behind an alleged drug trade at Clinton have yet to be determined, but CNN suggested sex, love, money, or ego as driving forces.
Following Matt and Sweat’s historic escape and capture, two prison workers have already been placed on leave and then arrested. The first, Joyce Mitchell, was a seamstress there and worked with both murderers; she is in jail facing a slew of charges. Gene Palmer, a corrections officer, is also on leave and facing felony charges for allegedly providing tools and destroying evidence.
As Sweat recovers from two shots to the torso, administered expertly by a local trooper on Sunday as the fugitive tried to flee into the woods, he said Palmer had no idea his actions were helping the duo break from prison. Only Mitchell — now in jail herself — helped with the actual escape, and none of the other staff were involved.
[Photo Courtesy Eric Thayer/Getty Images]