The big news in the "north country" as we call northeast New York, is that two convicted murderers have escaped from a local maximum security prison.
Prisons are big business up this way, in fact, they employ a great number of people around here.
As you know, I worked in one, Great Meadow Correctional Facility, for twenty years, as a nurse.
The convicts escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility, in the little town of Dannemora, NY, not far from the Candadian border, and 2 hours from where I live.
Somehow, they managed to get the power tools necessary to cut holes in the walls behind their beds, access the pipe chase between the two rows of cell blocks, climb down 6 stories, cut through a double brick wall, cut INTO a stainless steel pipe, crawl a long ways through the pipe, and cut OUT of the pipe, and up through a manhole that was chained closed.
Incredible, for many reasons.
Where did they access the power tools?
Why didn't anyone hear them, because they did not do all this work in a day?
How did they know the layout of the bowels of that prison?
I have been on those cell blocks, the old prisons are almost identical in the way that they were built. The cells are 5' x 9'. Where on earth do you move the bed, so that you can cut a hole behind it???
There is traffic up and down the walkway, or "company" as they call it, all day and all evening long, correction officers, medical staff, counselors, and more.
It is inconceivable to me, that they could have done this without someone hearing them.
It has come to light, that a woman in her 50's who worked there, and supervised BOTH inmates in a tailor shop, has been found to have assisted them. They found calls on her cell phone to one of the inmate's family. The morning that they escaped, she presented at the hospital in a panic attack and got admitted. She finally confessed that she was supposed to pick them up, but changed her mind at the last minute, if you can believe that she didn't take them somewhere first, and THEN have a panic attack.
She should have been in a panic LONG before that, in my opinion.
I have heard people say, "how could she get involved like that, with a prisoner, and especially one with such a violent crime?"
(One of the inmates killed a sheriff, and the other killed and dismembered his boss.)
It's actually quite common. Women, by the droves, get involved with incarcerated felons. Some of them knew the men before, and some of them answer ads in the newspapers and start a relationship, or some "friend" hooks them up. It is crazy, to most of us, but perfectly reasonable to the women who do it. They often end up marrying them. Women who work in the prisons, who get involved with inmates, lose their jobs, often their families, and certainly their reputations.
The inmates have everything to gain. If you have a woman on the outside, she can send you letters, and packages of things you want, she can put money into your inmate account so you can buy food and stuff from the commissary, and she visits you in the visiting room and breaks up your boring, monotonous life. She accepts collect calls from you, so you have that to look forward to on the nights that it is your turn to use the phone. And if you get married, you might even qualify for trailer visits for weekend sexual encounters. What' not to like from their perspectives??
The woman's life suddenly revolves around making this incarcerated man happy, costing her loads of money and time, and emotionally she can fool herself into thinking he is the love of her life.
And these guys are very good at making a woman believe she is everything to them.
What else do they have to do???
One woman who came to visit an inmate where I worked, was shocked when one day she came, and he wasn't there. His WIFE had picked him up on his release. SHE had been obsessed with this relationship for a few years, only to find out that she wasn't the only one.
I have seen several women fired for having relationships with inmates, women who were bright and who appeared to have their lives together, but who gave it all up for "love", totally hoodwinked by a criminal mind.
A nurse that I worked with became involved with the inmate who cleaned the hospital area, she lost her job, she married him, and as far as I know, she is still waiting for him to get out. He has been in jail since 1984. I wonder, still, how she makes that work in her mind.
Everyone in New York and Vermont is on the alert. The manpower being used to hunt for these guys is incredible, and expensive.
We can only hope that they are caught before they kill someone, because they are certainly capable of that, and at this point, they have nothing at all to lose.
From my own perspective, having worked in a max prison, I feel the same way about it now, that I did all those 20 years there. Women like this woman who helped them escaped make all the women who work in corrections look bad, women who support their families, who take their jobs seriously, women who are strong in their dealings with felons. She makes them ALL suspect.
And to be blunt, that just pisses me off.
Boy that pisses me off too. When I hear those stories I have to wonder - What the F are they thinking. Are they truly that desperate for a man's attention that they would stoop so low? How very sad for them. And for the families of the victims, who would surely give them a dose of reality if they had the chance.
And seriously.. even with that woman's aid, how did they pull all that off??.. WOW.
I find it so shocking because you're right, the NOISE from power tools is not something you miss. I'm not surprised that a woman helped them. Sadly, there are so many lonely women who are gullible and are fine living in a fantasy world with a man. With the complexity of this plan, it sure seems there had to have been more involvement. I just hope they find them soon and let the dogs tear them apart when they do. Very scary, I'm sure, to have them so close.
I feel the exact same way ....the woman who supposedly supplied the power tools and helped these inmates escape is just as guilty as the inmates. Without her co-operation there wouldn't have been an escape.
How frustrating for the staff who genuinely take their jobs seriously.
So very worrying for the community. Please be vigilant !
I also work in a prison (for 32 years)...and feel the same as you. I have seen many women and men walked off for inappropriate relationships. I cannot understand how someone can give up everything, their family and their reputation, for someone that has already proven that they are less than a suitable member of society. I work with convicted felons on a daily basis, up to including men convicted of multiple murders. Do I think of them as a companion or family member? No. I am not there to punish them, but to supervise them and hold them accountable. I treat them with respect and expect the same. All I can do is shake my head...and watch my back. If it is found that this woman did aid these men, she is as dangerous to the rest of us as the inmates are...
First, let me say that I read your blog regularly and enjoy it. I just don't normally comment. The story today reads like an outline for a best seller. It's beyond me how the two inmates could have accomplished even half of what you detailed in their escape. I don't understand how any woman could be desperate (or lonely or whatever) enough to get involved with an inmate. I think Angela's comments above are so true.
I'd heard this story in the news and really enjoyed reading your insider perspective. I unofficially minored in criminal justice in college because those were the most interesting classes to take, and one of my instructors even took us on a tour of the maximum security prison where she used to be a CO. I really is insane that a breakout of this magnitude was possible....here's hoping they find the escaped inmates soon!
Nice post. Stay safe.
Hi Hilary, Thanks for posting about this and your insight from personal experience. Hoping and praying they get the lead that captures them and that nobody gets hurt.
Very scary situation and hoping they get caught before hurting anyone else. You are a woman of my sides!! XOXO
the moment their escape was publicized i have been yelling at the TV .. they didnt do this on their own and anyone who thinks they did .. well .. some people will believe anything .. otherwise Fox news wouldn't exist
I hadn't heard that the woman was actually accused of aiding/abetting ... tho i am not surprised ... nor do i disagree with your assumption that she likely dropped them off before she went to the hospital ...
nevertheless i hope they are apprehended quickly and that if she did help them she too is put away
I was wondering if I knew anyone in upstate NY who might be close to that prison.
Hilary! I did not know you worked as a prison nurse. What a story, and what an escape. I'm sure everyone is edgy. I know I would be.
Those guys are probably long gone, and that sorry woman is the one in shackles looking at prison time.
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