Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US prison worker: I got 'caught up' in escape plot

29 July 2015, 20:13

New York - A U.S. prison worker who got "caught up in the fantasy" of an audacious breakout planned by two killers told investigators she performed sex acts with one of the men and took naked photos of herself for the other.

Joyce Mitchell, 51, an instructor in the tailor shop at the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York state, tearfully pleaded guilty Tuesday to helping the prisoners' brazen escape from the maximum-security prison last month that captured the world's attention. She faces a sentence of 2 1/3 to seven years in prison under terms of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Also read: 1 500 migrants attempt to enter Eurotunnel

Her lawyer, Stephen Johnston, said Mitchell realizes she made a "horrible mistake" by getting involved with Richard Matt and David Sweat. Matt was shot and killed by searchers about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of the prison nearly three weeks after the escape. Sweat was captured near the Canadian border two days later and sent to another prison.

"She got in over her head into something that she never should have started. But she did, and she's paying the price now," Johnston said outside court. "I think that to a certain extent, Matt got her to feeling good about herself, better than she had for a period of time, and she was swept off her feet a bit. And then when she realized who she was dealing with, everything changed."

In documents first obtained by NBC News, Mitchell told investigators she believed she helped the two inmates escape because she "was caught up in the fantasy" of their plot.

"I enjoyed the attention, the feeling both of them gave me and the thought of a different life," she said in a statement.

"Matt told me they were getting out and we were all going to be together," Mitchell said.

In April, Mitchell said, she was alone with Matt in the tailor shop when he grabbed her and kissed her.

"It startled me. He kissed me with an open mouth kiss. I didn't say anything because I was scared for my husband, who also works for the facility," Mitchell said.

In May, Matt asked her to perform oral sex and she so did out of fear, Mitchell said. On two or three other occasions, she said, Matt would come to her desk wearing a large coat in which he'd cut a hole so Mitchell could fondle him.

She said she took photos of her breasts and genitals and gave them to Matt to give to Sweat.

Mitchell told police the escape plan involved the inmates giving her pills to knock out her husband so she could pick them up in her vehicle. Then she was supposed to take them to her home, where Matt planned to kill her husband, whom he referred to as "the glitch," Mitchell said in her statement. She also said the inmates planned to drive to an unspecified hideout in the woods 6 to 7 hours from the prison.

In another statement, she admitted she passed notes, some of which were "of a sexual nature" to Matt to give to Sweat. Sweat was reassigned from her tailor shop after rumors surfaced that he was romantically involved with Mitchell.

Prosecutors say Mitchell provided hacksaw blades, chisels, a punch tool and a screwdriver to Matt in May. Authorities say she became close with the pair and agreed to be their getaway driver. But Mitchell backed out at the last moment, forcing the two to flee on foot after they emerged from a manhole near the prison.

Authorities said she smuggled the tools into the prison by hiding them in frozen meat she placed in a refrigerator in the tailor shop. They said Gene Palmer, a prison guard who investigators accuse of unwittingly helping the two inmates, then took the meat to Sweat and Matt, who were housed in a section where inmates are allowed to cook their meals.

Authorities do not believe Palmer knew of the escape plan. He was released on bail after being arrested on charges including promoting prison contraband.

Mitchell, who was arrested June 12, resigned from her job.

Matt and Sweat cut through their adjoining cell walls over months, climbed down catwalks to tunnels and broke through a brick wall. They then cut into a steam pipe and cut a chain holding a manhole cover outside the prison to get away, authorities said.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...