Corrections officer union fires back at claims of prisoner abuse

An employee leaves the Clinton Correctional Facility, Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Dannemora, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

DANNEMORA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Officials at Dannemora’s Clinton Correctional Facility acknowledge there have been allegations by prisoners of abuse in the wake of the infamous escape of David Sweat and Richard Matt, but now corrections officers are firing back.

According to The New York Times, prisoners at the maximum security prison filed at least 60 complaints with a legal service group for prisoners, sparking the prison’s internal investigation.

Now NYSCOPBA, the union representing New York’s corrections officers, is calling reports of the allegations one-sided.

“Our stance from the onset of the Dannemora escape has been pragmatic, and we will not rush to judgement or point fingers,” Mike Powers, president of NYSCOPBA, said. “The priority of the law enforcement community was the capture of two convicted murderers.”

The union spokesperson says the union and its corrections officers took a responsible course of action, choosing to remain quiet and allow investigations to move forward.

“Once (the capture) occurred, our focus was to allow the State Inspector General’s Office to conduct their internal investigation, cooperate fully, and hopefully have a role in reforms that would come in the future,” Powers said.

In the face of allegations, like those reported in The New York Times from one prisoner named Patrick Alexander, the union says it will continue to reserve judgement. The Times reported an account from Alexander, where the prisoner claimed corrections officers violently beat him and restrained him while doing so.

“Our course will continue to stay the same regardless of “allegations” made by a handful of violent convicted felons,” Powers said. “Once the investigation is complete, and we have a chance to review the findings, we will have the opportunity to give our viewpoints.”

Powers urged the public to also allow the investigation to come to fruition before passing judgement. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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