Cops on Escaped Killer: Most Evil Person We've Seen
Prison that lifers broke out of is NY's 'Little Siberia'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2015 4:31 AM CDT
Updated Jun 8, 2015 7:03 AM CDT
Law enforcement officers with bloodhounds stand guard at one of the entrances to the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY, on Saturday, June 6, 2015.   (Gabe Dickens/Press-Republican via AP)
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(Newser) – As law enforcement officers swarm upstate New York in the search for escaped lifers David Sweat and Richard Matt, the New York Times looks inside the prison it calls a "tough place to do hard time." The notorious Clinton Correctional Facility, nicknamed "Little Siberia" because of its remote location in the village of Dannemora, NY, is "one of the last places you'd want to be in the state system," the director of the Prison Visiting Project at an inmates' advocacy group tells the Times. Almost 90% of the 2,689 inmates in the state's largest prison are serving time for violent crimes. Fights and racial tension are common, inmates say, and while there hasn't been an escape from the maximum-security part of the prison since it opened in 1845, at least 23 inmates committed suicide between 2000 and 2014. In other developments:

  • Federal arrest warrants have been issued for Sweat and Matt, which clears the way for federal resources to be used in the search, CNN reports. Law enforcement officials say they're following up 150 leads.

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo—who says the taunting note the men left will be returned to them when they're recaptured—has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to their arrest, or $50,000 for either of them, reports the New York Daily News.
  • Cuomo says the men, last seen during a Friday night count, could "be anywhere in the state" by now, or across the border in Canada, which is about 20 miles north of the prison, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Sweat, reported to be 34 or 35 in various media, killed a sheriff's deputy in 2002, but Matt, 48 or 49, may be the more dangerous of the pair. He kidnapped, murdered, and dismembered his former boss in 1997, and officers who worked on his case tell the New York Times that he is the most vicious, evil, and cunning criminal they have ever encountered. "I've seen him inflict wounds on himself, cut himself; break his collarbone and not seek any treatment," a retired City of Tonawanda detective says. "He's just totally, totally fearless, and doesn't respond to pain."

 

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