Assembly Members say Legislature should do its part by passing “Prisoner Privileges Limitation Law”; call for independent investigation of prison break
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) and Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Schaghticoke), today said Clinton Correctional Facility is “doing the right thing” and praised them for closing its entire “Honor Block”, as the Times Union reported, at the maximum security prison in Dannemora, where two convicts escaped from almost two weeks ago.
Tedisco and McLaughlin also today are calling for an outside and truly independent investigation of the causes of the prison break and recommendations to help prevent something like this from happening again -- not an investigator appointed by the Administration.
David Sweat and Richard Matt, both brutal murderers, lived on the “honor block” at the Clinton Correctional Facility as a reward for “good behavior.” The “Dannemora Duo” were allegedly allowed to wear regular clothing in addition to their prison attire and worked with civilians at the prison’s tailor shop where they befriended Joyce Mitchell, who allegedly helped the killers escape from the maximum security prison.
Tedisco and McLaughlin now believe the legislature should do its own due diligence and pass their bill, the “Prisoner Privileges Limitation Law”, to prevent the worst-of-the-worst violent convicts (murderers and rapists) from having unfettered access to civilians at prisons and being able to wear civilian clothing while incarcerated. The legislation, (S.5978/awaiting Assembly #), would still allow for some incentives for good behavior for the worst of the worst inmates. However, inmates would no longer be able to possess civilian garb. The worst offenders would be allowed to continue to participate in civilian-run programs only if there is sufficient staffing by trained correction guards to ensure the inmates never have an opportunity to be alone with a civilian. The bill is being sponsoring in the State Senate by Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R,C,I-Elma), Chair of the Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee.
“Clinton Correctional Facility officials are doing the right thing in shutting down Honor Block privileges until the dust settles in Dannemora. There are many priorities that need to be accomplished for the taxpayers of New York before session ends and chief among them should be ensuring public safety. We need to pass our Prisoner Privileges Limitation Law to help prevent the most heinous and violent of inmates from escaping and potentially harming innocent, honest, law-abiding citizens,” said Tedisco.
“We applaud the Department of Correctional Services for closing the Honor Block at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. In fact, they are taking it a step further than what we are asking for in our legislation. Public safety has got to be job number one and I’m glad they’re taking this seriously,” said McLaughlin.
“The Prisoner Privileges Limitation Law is not the only solution to preventing more prison breaks or addressing any issues that may be going on at our state correctional facilities. We are calling for and there needs to be an independent top to bottom investigation as to what happened and then let the chips fall where they may. But this modest common sense legislation is a no brainer that shouldn’t have to wait months and even years for investigations and reports to be completed,” said Tedisco.