NY prison escapee Sweat back behind bars. What's different this time?(Read article summary)
David Sweat has been transferred to another upstate New York maximum security prison, but he will lose all the privileges he enjoyed before his breakout a month ago.
New York State Police/Reuters/File
After spending three weeks on the run and one in the hospital, escaped prisoner David Sweat is back in a maximum security prison. He was transferred Sunday to the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, N.Y., according to the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).
This time, the level of attention focused on Mr. Sweat will be heightened. Whereas prior to his breakout from Clinton Correctional Facility Sweat had lived in “honor housing,” where well-behaved inmates were trusted with limited privileges, Sweat’s freedom at Five Points will be severely abridged.
He will spend the first 24 hours at Five Points in the infirmary for a medical evaluation, DOCCS said in a statement. Sweat will then be placed in the facility’s Special Housing Unit, where he will be locked in a single-occupancy cell for 23 hours a day. He will also be on active suicide watch.
Each of the 150 cells in the Special Housing Unit comes furnished with the basics for all-day confinement: a bed, a toilet, a sink, a writing platform, and a shower that the prison controls to “limit movement,” DOCCS said.
In honor housing at Dannemora, Sweat and fellow escapee Richard Matt enjoyed the freedom to cook their own meals, wear some street clothing, move around the prison and the yard, and use the television and phone with fewer restrictions, Reuters reported.
State troopers found and killed Mr. Matt two days before catching Sweat.
Five Points is located about 250 miles away from Dannemora, in the Finger Lakes region of the state, authorities said according to Reuters. DOCCS said the facility houses 1,294 inmates and has 511 security staff members, and 669 employees overall. According to the Village of Dannemora, about 3,000 prisoners currently reside at Clinton; data are not available on the number of staff members the facility employs.
Recent security-related incidents at Five Points include a fight last October between two cellmates, CNYCentral reported. Three officers were injured in the attempt to break up the fight.
Three years before that, in November 2011, an escape plan involving multiple prisoners at Five Points was discovered and thwarted, according to the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association. Officials found a hole in an interior fence they said may have been caused by maintenance work, but they also found an escape plan and a dummy as well as other contraband in an inmate’s cell.
After Sweat and Matt’s escape, the investigation into Clinton Correctional Facility revealed that employee Joyce Mitchell had helped them planned their escape and had smuggled them contraband along with corrections officer Gene Palmer.
Clinton’s superintendent and 11 other employees have been put on administrative leave as a result of the investigation, Pix11 reported. A new superintendent has been named, who was formerly a member of the prison’s Emergency Response Team, and the prison is undergoing major security revisions, including the installation of gates in tunnels and the mandated presence of a higher-ranking prison official during night shifts.