'Escape at Dannemora': The true story behind the Clinton Correctional Facility riots after Richard Matt and David Sweat's escape

A little over 2 months after the escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat, the Clinton Correctional Facility was put on lockdown after two major brawls broke out between prisoners.


                            'Escape at Dannemora': The true story behind the Clinton Correctional Facility riots after Richard Matt and David Sweat's escape

The Ben Stiller-directed ongoing dark prison drama 'Escape at Dannemora,' about the infamous 2015 Clinton Correction Facility escape, has managed to attract a lot of attention, given how sensational and cut out for Hollywood the real-life incident was.

At the time, the media had also contributed to spicing up the gritty story of inmates Richard Matt (played by Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (played by Paul Dano) tunneling out of the prison using tools supplied by prison employee Joyce 'Tilly' Mitchell (Patricia Arquette).

The fact that the two had conned Tilly using sexual gratification only proved to be a favorable bonus for the story to absolutely blow up. But a lesser known fact is that right after the two had managed to escape, something else blew up too within the walls of the facility they were confined in.

A little over two months later the correctional facility in Dannemora, New York, was put on lockdown after two major brawls broke out between prisoners.

In the real story, and as depicted on the Showtime show's latest episode on December 16, on the morning of June 6, 2015, both Matt and Sweat were found missing from their beds, thus kicking off a 23 million manhunt and investigation of the case.

Eventually, Matt was spotted and shot to death on sight, and just a couple of days later, Sweat was shot and taken into custody too. After two months, the involved parties - Sweat, Tilly, and prison officer Gene Palmer (David Morse) were sentenced to serve their time in prison, but by the looks of it, things were heating up back in the prison too.

As per reports by The Albany Times Union, authorities had to resort to gunfire to end one of the aforementioned brawls that had broken out between prisoners at the facility.  

The fights took place around the end of August 2015, after the sentencing over the prison break, and even though corrections officers were unharmed from all the action that went down, several prisoners were left injured.

A union official's accounts to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican said a subsequent facility-wide search was also carried, and it was found that drugs and weapons being harbored in secret within the prison walls. 

In this handout from New York State Police, convicted murderers David Sweat (L) and Richard Matt are shown i n this composite image. Matt, 48, and Sweat, 34, escaped from the maximum security prison June 6, 2015 using power tools and going through a manhole.
In this handout from New York State Police, convicted murderers David Sweat (L) and Richard Matt are shown i n this composite image. Matt, 48, and Sweat, 34, escaped from the maximum security prison June 6, 2015 using power tools and going through a manhole.

"The facility is expected to return to normal operations sometime next week," Chris Hansen, the then vice president of Northeastern Region of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, had told the Press-Republican.

Hansen cited "drug activity and inmate group on inmate group" for sparking the riots. Assemblywoman Janet Duprey also shared with WPTZ-TV that 23 of the facility's roughly 2,000 inmates were also involved in the fights.

Reports from the time note that this riot was the fourth incident that called for the use of weapons and/or tear gas at the facility since May, right before Matt and Sweat had managed to escape.

Along with that, it was also the second Upstate N.Y. correctional facility that went into lockdown in the span of a week, after Auburn Correctional Facility was also locked down following a series of assaults on prison staff. As for the riot that sprung amidst the inmates, a New York Times report had revealed at the time that the inmate had also reported severe beatings by prison officials becoming a lot more common after Matt and Sweat's escape.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.