Allegations of prisoner abuse are being investigated at the New York State prison from where inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped in June. Once they escaped the two men became the center of a massive manhunt in the Upstate New York area. The prisoners who stayed behind in the facility, which is just what is expected of any inmate, are the ones making these claims that they were abused, threatened and beaten during interrogations about the escaped prisoners.
According to News Max on August 12, Matt and Sweat escaped from the section of the prison called “honor section,” which is reserved for inmates demonstrating continual good behavior. The remaining prisoners in that section after those two absconded were subjected to harsh interrogation strategies, according to the complaints. As law enforcement grew desperate to find the two men who escaped they were using these grueling interrogation methods on prisoners who knew the escapees or had cells near theirs.
According to CNN News, the union that represents the prison guards calls these reports all “one-sided.” James Miller, a spokesman for the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association said, “Our course will continue to stay the same regardless of ‘allegations’ made by a handful of violent convicted felons.”
The original story in the New York Times reports the inmates making these complaints offer details of “being beaten while handcuffed, choked, and slammed against cell bars and walls.” Inmate Patrick Alexander claimed to have been taken into a broom closet, handcuffed and beaten. He had the cell next to Matt and the guards “beat and choked” him attempting to get information out of him about the escape prisoners.
Alexander said at one point the guards put a plastic bag over his head and screamed questions at him about the two inmates at large. The guards demanded, “Where are they going? What did you hear? How much are they paying you to keep your mouth shut?”
Alexander said he didn’t recognize the guards who were brutally interrogating him in that closet. One of the men had the letters C.I.U. on his jacket, which stood for Crisis Intervention Unit. Three weeks after the men escaped the maximum-security facility in Dannemora, New York, one was shot and killed and the other was shot and injured and is now back in prison. It wasn’t just a few complaints the prison system received, according to the Times in their original report.
The New York Times reports, “More than 60 inmates have filed complaints with Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, an organization that assists indigent prisoners. And 10 members of an inmate council at Clinton signed a letter last month to state corrections officials making similar allegations.”
This prison escape has resulted in prison employees losing their positions. According to the Times, “One has pleaded guilty to aiding the escape; another faces criminal charges; nine officers have been suspended; and the leadership of the prison, in Dannemora, has been removed.”