Ex-Prison Worker Fined $80K for Inmates’ Escape


The prison employee who provided the tools that two murderers used to cut their way out of a maximum-security facility will pay the state nearly $80,000 to cover the costs of repairing the damage caused during the breakout.

A prosecutor said during Joyce Mitchell’s restitution hearing on Friday that she will pay $79,841, plus a 10 percent surcharge, for the damage Richard Matt and David Sweat caused by using hacksaw blades and other tools she provided to break out of Clinton Correctional Facility in June.

That amount came in well under the state’s initial estimate of $120,000.

The 51-year-old Mitchell, who worked as an instructor in the prison’s tailor shop, pleaded guilty in September to charges related to the escape and was sentenced to 2 1/3 to seven years in prison. She said she was depressed at the time and Matt took advantage of her mental state to get her to bring them the tools and other contraband.

Mitchell was supposed to pick up the prisoners in her vehicle after they escaped, but she suffered a panic attack and was taken to the hospital by her husband, Lyle, who also worked at the prison. State records show the couple had a combined income of about $115,000 in 2014.

During the brief restitution hearing Friday, Clinton County Court Judge Kevin Ryan said: “I do believe this now brings to an end a difficult time for our community.”

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