Prisoners at the upstate correctional facility from which two convicts infamously broke out in June—with the help of at least one correction officer—say they were interrogated, waterboarded, tortured and beaten following the escape, as reported by the Times today.
The Times exposé documents the goings-on at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. following the June 6th escape of prisoners Richard Matt and David Sweat. Matt, who was fatally shot by police on June 26th, and Sweat, who was captured on June 28th, cut a hole out of their prison cells using tools prison worker Joyce Mitchell snuck in to them in exchange for sexual favors. But before investigators hammered out those details, according to the Times, they turned on the other prisoners, particularly on prisoner Patrick Alexander, who was in a cell adjacent to Matt's and Sweat's in the prison's honor block:
Then, at about 8 p.m., he was handcuffed and taken to a broom closet where, he said, three corrections officers whom he had never seen before interrogated him. An officer wearing a jacket with the initials C.I.U. — Crisis Intervention Unit — sat down and asked him, “Do you know the difference between this interview and those other interviews?” Mr. Alexander recalled.
This time, the officer warned, there were only uniformed guards in the room, Mr. Alexander said.
“The officer jumps up and grabs me by my throat, lifts me out of the chair, slams my head into the pipe along the wall,” he said. “Then he starts punching me in the face. The other two get up and start hitting me also in the ribs and stomach..."
...When Mr. Alexander repeatedly insisted that he had no information, one officer pointed to a plastic bag hanging on some pipes, asked if he knew what it was for and said, “You know what waterboarding is?” Mr. Alexander recalled.
The officer then put the bag over his head and started beating him again, Mr. Alexander said. He said the interrogation lasted about 20 minutes, and he was then taken, bleeding, back to his cell.
Later, Mr. Alexander said, the same officer “began quietly taunting and threatening me, telling me, ‘Don’t worry, Fat Boy, we’ll be seeing you really soon.’ ”
Alexander wasn't the only prisoner who claims he was beaten and tortured by guards after Matt and Sweat's escape—over 60 inmates have filed complaints with Prisoners’ Legal Services about their treatment in the aftermath of the prison break. One prisoner wrote a letter to Prisoners’ Legal Services documenting an incident in which officers tied a plastic bag around his neck and used it "as a hanging noose." Others were allegedly beaten and assaulted before being transferred to solitary confinement or other prisons. Some complained they lost honor block privileges they spent years racking up.
It would be several hours before the first details of the escape were made public. Around 11 a.m., Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo toured the honor block and inspected the holes that the inmates had cut in the backs of their cells with hacksaw blades.
The governor then stopped to question Mr. Alexander.
“Must have kept you awake with all that cutting, huh?” Mr. Cuomo asked, according to video of the exchange. Then, Mr. Alexander said, the governor “gave me his best tough guy stare and walked off.”
Later, the governor said he would be “shocked” if any correction officers were involved.
Aforementioned prison employee Mitchell has already pleaded guilty to helping the inmates escape, a second worker was charged with aiding them in June, and nine workers have reportedly been suspended. The Times, which reported earlier this summer that the state may have bungled its response and subsequent manhunt, says no prisoners have been linked to Matt and Sweat's escape so far.