LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Former N.Y. Prison Employee Enters Guilty Plea Related To Inmates' Escape

Joyce Mitchell, who has reached a plea deal over charges that she aided a prison escape, is seen here during a June court date, along with her lawyer, Steven Johnston.

Joyce Mitchell, the Clinton Correctional Facility worker who was charged last month with aiding two convicted killers' escape, has pleaded guilty after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

Mitchell, 51, was an instructor in the tailor shop at the prison in northern New York — a position that officials say allowed her to pass tools such as hacksaw blades and a screwdriver to prisoner Richard Matt.

Matt escaped along with David Sweat, in a plot that was intended to include Mitchell as the getaway driver, authorities say. She backed out of that part of the plan, but the two convicts remained at large for three weeks. In late June, Matt was cornered and shot to death; Sweat was captured two days later.

On Tuesday, Mitchell pleaded guilty to both charges against her: one felony count of promoting prison contraband and one misdemeanor charge of criminal facilitation.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Mitchell in September. If she had been found guilty of both charges after a trial, she would have risked a prison sentence of up to eight years.

"Another employee at Clinton-Dannemora, prison guard Gene Palmer, was also arrested and is awaiting trial," reports North Country Public Radio. "Meanwhile, 12 administrators and officers at the prison have been placed on administrative leave. That includes the top official at the facility — Superintendent Steve Racette. He is expected to retire by the end of this week."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)