Guards in one New York prison resorted to a “frantic” series of interrogations and abuse after the recent escape of two murderers, according to inmate complaints first reported by The New York Times. The guards appeared to have been trying to get information on the escapees, but ironically it was the prison employees who knew the most.
The June escape of murderers David Sweat and Richard W. Matt from Clinton Correctional Facility led to a weeks-long manhunt on the outside. Meanwhile in the prison, guards reportedly took it upon themselves to lead their own investigation, one involving constitutionally questionable tactics.
The Times reported the account of prisoner Patrick Alexander.
“As the three guards, who wore no name badges, punched him and slammed his head against the wall, he said they shouted questions: ‘Where are they going? What did you hear? How much are they paying you to keep your mouth shut?’ One of the guards put a plastic bag over his head, Mr. Alexander said, and threatened to waterboard him.”
According to CNN, inmates have come forward with 60 complaints, some including brutal interrogations, solitary confinement, and even threats of waterboarding. Others say privileges they worked years to gain were suddenly taken away.
One of the complaints came from “Mr. Edwards,” who once supervised 50 other prisoners in a tailor shop and made $45 a week. Then the escape happened. Now he’s been transferred to Sing Sing prison where he only makes $3 a week as a porter.
The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association says the news has been one-sided, and questions the Times’s sources. They stress that the law enforcement community is waiting for the full state investigation.
Union spokesman James Miller explained more.
“We took this approach because it was a responsible course of action and chose not to counter the wide number of inaccurate facts and misinformation being reported by various new agencies through less than reliable sources. Our course will continue to stay the same regardless of ‘allegations’ made by a handful of violent convicted felons.”
Still, the New York Times described the questioning as “frantic,” speculating that the guards were trying to get information to exonerate themselves.
Three members of the prison executive team have been placed on paid administrative lead after authorities charged worker Joyce Mitchell with aiding the escape.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Mitchell was accused of helping the inmates in exchange for sexual favors. Police shot Sweat and Matt dead after the New York prison escape and Joyce Mitchell has pleaded guilty.
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