NY Inmates Left Behind the Escape Suffered Gitmo Style Retribution


By Heather Callaghan

While America turned wide eyes to the excitement of the “manhunt” after two inmates escaped Clinton Correctional Facility this summer, a different kind of terror took place out of camera view – away from all views, actually.

Convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped the maximum security prison on June 6th prompting a massive search. Matt was killed and Sweat was injured and captured in three weeks.

At some point, however, correctional officers took it upon themselves to inflict a “campaign of retribution,” according to RT news.

According to the outlet and the New York Times, inmates left behind suffered:

  • Threats of waterboarding if no information was brought forth
  • Beaten while handcuffed during demands for information – taken into private closets
  • Passing out from a plastic bag lynching, when one guard tied a plastic bag around one of the inmate’s neck and used it as a noose
  • Getting ganged up on by multiple guards and beaten with fists in face, ribs and stomach
  • Being grabbed by throat and lifted out of chairs
  • Getting heads slammed into wall piping
  • Denial of medical care after injurious interrogations, threatened if they should reveal how they received their injuries
  • The stripping of good behavior privileges that took years to earn
  • Being transferred from the “honor block” to solitary confinement or shipped to other prisons.

Outside authorities apparently did not notice, and gave the inmates “harsh reprisals.”

Did any of techniques bring about answers? Did they find inmates who helped in the escape?

No – it was prison worker Joyce Mitchell who was later arrested and pled guilty to providing tools for the prison break. Some faced criminal charges stemming from contraband, some officers were suspended and the leadership wiped clean. The state corrections department launched an investigation and over 60 inmates have filed complaints with Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York.

A number of comments bubble up that the inmates deserve it simply because they are there and if they didn’t want to be they shouldn’t “do the crime.” This only applies when one has a lust for punishment and can circumvent all logic. Think about where the inmates are and why. It is not the duty of guards to perform private interrogation, torture or psychological breakdowns without any limitations; not to mention, it’s unconstitutional. Additionally, abuse of this nature can become a personal vendetta possibly laced with sadism, so people shouldn’t try to rationalize that the abuse has anything to do with doling out justice or security. At that point – who is now performing a crime? Where is the punisher’s retribution?

These abuses don’t just take place on killers and rapists in max security, it appears to be a systemic problem found even in lowly jail cells. And when all appeals to officials are met with stone-cold stares, you can be sure that we are on a stomach-churning roller coaster ride down the slippery slope.

Lastly, that logic would be the complete inverse if that person was the one brought up on an accusation or non-violent crime and urged by his lawyer to take a plea deal that includes “some light prison time.” The prison turns out to be for profit – profiting from hard labor, too – and pretends he doesn’t actually have medical needs. Then it would be about human rights and protection from cruel and unusual treatment.

But Americans might not think that far down the road when they are compelled to grab their popcorn in the comfort of their homes and watch the next reality escape plot with glee. It’s the current theater news  de jour, after all, and it’s on right before Orange is the New Black.

The photo “Prison Cell” is by Aapo Haapanen on Flickr under Creative Commons

Heather Callaghan writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze – more of her articles here.

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2 Comments on "NY Inmates Left Behind the Escape Suffered Gitmo Style Retribution"

  1. They were just pissed that they were outed as the incompetent tax eaters that they are.

  2. I can think of several high ranking past and present members of the US political scene who deserve waterboarding infinitely more than these men did.
    Their time will come.

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