For Escapee, Prison Now Will Mean 23 Hours a Day in a Cell

ROMULUS, N.Y. (AP) -

The surviving escapee from a prison break and three-week manhunt will spend 23 hours a day in a maximum-security cell, much more confined than he and a fellow murder convict were in the prison from which they managed a getaway, officials said Sunday.

David Sweat, who was shot and wounded during his June 28 capture, was taken early Sunday from Albany Medical Center to the infirmary at the Five Points Correctional Facility in the central New York town of Romulus.

After at least 24 hours in the infirmary for a medical evaluation, he’ll be among the up to 150 men held in its Special Housing Unit, where each prisoner sleeps, eats, washes and spends nearly all his time in a 105-square-foot cell with a bed, a writing platform, a toilet, a sink and a shower. The inmates generally are allowed out of their cells to exercise for an hour a day.

Sweat, 35, will be guarded against taking his life, the corrections department noted.

Set about 200 miles west of Albany amid New York’s Finger Lakes, the 1,300-inmate prison opened in 2000. It housed convicted murderer Timothy Vail for a time after he and another inmate scaled down a homemade rope to escape from Elmira Correctional Facility in 2003.

Five Points Correctional is 155 years newer than Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, from which Sweat and fellow inmate Richard Matt escaped on June 6.

Clinton Correctional is maximum-security, but as residents of the prison’s “honor” block and workers in its tailor shop, Richard Matt and Sweat were able to spend considerable time out of their cells.

They got a guard to give them art supplies, tools and access to a catwalk in exchange for favors and paintings, and they shared their escape plans with a tailor-shop instructor who gave them hacksaw blades and even agreed to be their getaway driver before she backed out.

The prison’s then-superintendent and 11 other staffers were put on leave after the escape. The honor block has been temporarily closed, and new security measures are being enacted.

Meanwhile, New York State Police are seeking the public’s help in locating the owner of a red and black TYR brand backpack Sweat was carrying. Inside was maps, tools, Pop Tarts and other items. The backpack is believed to have been stolen from a camp in neighboring Franklin or Clinton County.