Report by advocates alleges abuse after escape

Print Friendly

From Times Union:

While the state inspector general’s report detailed the factors that contributed to the escape from Clinton Correctional Facility last June, a new report from a prisoner advocacy group levels a number of abuse claims against staff at the maximum-security prison that allegedly occurred in the wake of the escape.

The Correctional Association of NY report, largely a compilation of anonymous inmate accounts, contends the June 6, 2015, breakout was followed by an uptick in abusive behavior by employees, plus excessive use of solitary confinement and rampant racism.

The Correctional Association recommends that the prison, one of the state’s largest and infamously referred to as “Little Siberia,” should be shut down along with Attica, another facility marred by allegations of abuse.

In one account, an inmate claimed that after Richard Matt and David Sweat broke out, pressure from top-level officials led to harsh treatment by those working within the prison.

“Albany has been putting pressure on the prison, and it is rolling downhill and we are punished as a result,” the inmate told the Correctional Association. “Any little thing you say, they put their hands on you. You can just say, ‘what?’ And they can beat you.”

Another detailed an incident that was referred to investigators but apparently remains unresolved.

“A CO put his knee on my back. When I asked what was going on, one officer said ‘shut the —- up. This is what happens when people escape,’” the inmate told the Correctional Association.

Asked why inmates were granted anonymity in the report, Correctional Association Executive Director Soffiyah Elijah said it was for the physical safety of those who came forward.

“They can’t take the risk of being perhaps killed for reporting out what has happened in the prison,” she said.

There are a number of similarities in the allegations, including retaliation for speaking out through the grievance process or to the media, officers interfering with inmates’ food, and officers writing false disciplinary tickets. Pleas for officers to be required to wear body cameras and for more minority officers to be stationed at the prison in rural Clinton County also are common throughout.

The allegations resemble those detailed in media reports since the escape.  Read the full article.