July 1, The Auburn Citizen (New York) on what prisons can learn from the Dannemora escape.
Now that the search for Clinton Correctional Facility escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat is over, the process of investigating what went wrong to allow these two convicted murderers to break out of a maximum security state prison is moving forward aggressively.
On Tuesday, just two days after Sweat was captured alive near the Canadian border and four days after Matt was fatally shot in a confrontation in Franklin County, state officials announced 12 CCF employees have been suspended in connection with the case. Among those 12 are three senior-level administrators. In addition to the 12 were the corrections officer and civilian employee who are facing criminal charges in connection with their roles in the escape.
The quick work to move this investigation forward and to keep the public updated is important, and we hope this sense of urgency remains in place even as the story loses the attention of the national media.
There’s also been the promise from state lawmakers to hold hearings into the entire matter, another good idea.
All of this digging into what went wrong at Clinton is necessary, not just for holding people accountable for mistakes that seriously jeopardized public safety, but also for ensuring that something like this cannot happen again.
And that’s why we also urge state corrections officials, the union for corrections officers, state lawmakers, the Cuomo administration and prisoner advocates to make sure the investigation of the Matt/Sweat escape does not stop at the walls of Clinton Correctional Facility.
This should be a call to action for a deep assessment of policy, procedures, facilities, technology and staffing practices and levels at every prison in the state.
With two prisons within the borders of Cayuga County, most readers have a family member or friend who works inside the gates of a state correctional facility.
It’s vital that we spare no effort or resource to making sure those places are as safe and secure as possible.
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