Since Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York ten days ago, the prison has been on lockdown—meaning the inmates they left behind have hardly been allowed out of their cells, if at all. According to the New York Department of Correction and Community Supervision, that may change this week.
We first reported on the lockdown on Friday, after a woman whose father is incarcerated at Clinton reached out to Gawker with a letter he sent her the day after the escape alleging that he hadn’t been allowed out of his cell since then. The woman’s father also wrote that television service had been cut off inside Clinton and local radio stations were scrambled and inaccessible. DOCCS later confirmed that the facility was placed on official lockdown on Saturday, June 6—the day guards discovered Matt and Sweat were missing.
DOCCS spokeswoman Linda Foglia told me via email today that the department expects to lift the lockdown on the main Clinton facility by the end of the week. She also wrote that the lockdown on the Clinton Annex—an auxiliary facility that houses 685 of the roughly 3,000 total inmates at Clinton—was lifted on Monday, June 15.
Since publishing the first lockdown post, I’ve heard from several people with family members or significant others at Clinton who were concerned about the state of their loved ones. Because inmates aren’t allowed to make calls during lockdown, information comes slowly through letters. One woman’s fiance wrote that, in an effort to gain information about the escape, guards were “disrespecting” and “taking advantage” of him while he was handcuffed—a description that she took to mean he was beaten.
News of a potential end to the lockdown first came to inmates’ family members on Monday through a mailer from the nonprofit Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York, which shared information the organization says it received from DOCCS. The mailer—which you can read in full here—gave several other updates on Clinton inmates’ condition, on which Foglia declined to comment:
5. As of June 10th, showers have been offered and will continue to be allowed.
6. Medical and mental health staff, ORC/Counselors, chaplains, employees of the State Commission of Correction as well as the Superintendent have been making and will continue to make rounds.
7. On Sunday, all individuals being held at Clinton were given 2 free stamps to allow and encourage them to send letters to their loved ones.
8. Although there have been been reports that meals were limited to sandwiches twice a day, DOCCS officials assured PLS that as of June 12th, hot meals have been served.
9. Although local news was removed from the televisions from Saturday, June 6 - Tuesday, June 9, all channels were restored as of June 9, 2015.
10. Some commissary buys will be allowed as of today and will gradually be added to over the next week until full commissary privileges are restored.