Prison escapes are the stuff of ledgend, and Hollywood is chock full of tales of remarkable escapes that ended well for the escapes, such as the Shawshank Redemption. But real life is rarely like the movies, and the tale of the escape of two killers from New York’s Clinton Correctional Facilty in Dannemora prison, which ended with one of the inmates dead and the other shot captured and spending the rest of his life in solitary confinement, has revealed some interesting details about the prison.
A report, as outline in the New York Daily Mag, released a year after the escape and recapture of the prisoners details exactly how the two inmates were able to escape the prison. The biggest key to Richeard Matt and David Sweat’s success seams to be the admiration and help of two of the prison’s guards, Joyce Mitchell, who was entranced by their charms, and Gene Palmer. Both guards were able to bring the men the tools they need to escape with the help of numerous inept and lazy guards.
Interestingly enough, one of the most unique aspects of the escape is that it was made possible because of the hobby of painting that the two men had taken up while in prison. Both men became exceptional artists due to the admiration for the art they had as well as the amount of free time they were able to devote to the hobby, and they developed fans. In particular, many of the guards and inmates admired Sweat’s incredibly detailed style of painted. Eventually this led to both Palmer and Mitchell smuggling tools into the prison so that they could hatch an escape plan.
The basic details of the plan are pretty straightforward, and involved using tools and makeshift dummies to escape through a series of intricate tunnels, but it is how they convinced the guards to help them that makes this story interesting.