Ex-NY Prison Worker Makes Plea Deal For Helping Inmates Escape


Former New York state prison worker Joyce Mitchell agreed to a prison term of up to seven years and a $6,000 fine after pleading guilty to helping two convicts escape, the Wall Street Journal reports. “She's been very anxious, very depressed, very remorseful for what she did,” said her attorney, Stephen Johnston. Earlier, Mitchell was “swept off her feet” by the late ex-inmate Richard Matt. The June 6 escape of Matt and David Sweat, a feat in which they cut through steel cell walls, wriggled through tunnels and emerged from a manhole outside Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., prompted a manhunt involving hundreds of officers.

Federal agents shot and killed Matt on June 26, and New York State Police shot and captured Sweat on June 28. Mitchell, 51, confessed to supplying the men with hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch tool and a screwdriver bit. In court yesterday, she was shackled and dressed in a black-and-white prison jump suit. She wiped tears from her eyes as she signed paperwork waiving her right to a grand-jury proceeding. Clinton County Prosecutor Andrew Wylie said grand-jury proceedings would begin next month for Gene Palmer, a corrections officer at the prison who allegedly helped Mitchell smuggle hacksaw blades and other tools to the escapees.

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