Parole denied for Joyce Mitchell, prison tailor who helped 2 killers escape

Joyce Mitchell
FILE - In this July 28, 2015 file photo, Joyce Mitchell raises her hand during a court appearance in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Mitchell, the former New York prison employee who helped two killers escape from a maximum-security prison in June, said in an interview that aired Monday, Sept. 14, on NBC's "Today" show that she was depressed at the time and the inmates took advantage of what she called her "weakness." (Rob Fountain/The Press-Republican via AP, Pool, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Parole has been denied to prison tailor Joyce Mitchell, who was sweet-talked into providing hacksaw blades, chisels and other tools that two killers used in a prison break that’s the subject of a Showtime miniseries being filmed in the region where it happened.

Mitchell will remain behind bars for at least two more years for helping killers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape through a manhole outside the walls of the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in June 2015, according to a parole board decision released Monday. The panel said it was likely the 53-year-old Mitchell would again violate the law if released.

“The panel believed that you were easily manipulated by inmate Matt as he consistently and inappropriately professed his love for you that led to clouding your judgment,” the board said in the decision following an interview with Mitchell last week at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where she’s serving 2 1/3 to 7 years.

“You stated to the panel that you were afraid for your husband’s life, however you never consider the lives of the community at large by assisting with the escape of two extremely violent convicted felons,” the board said.

Mitchell was also denied a bid for early release in February. Her next parole hearing is in June 2019.

Matt and Sweat used tools smuggled by Mitchell to cut through a steel cell wall and several steam pipes to make an escape route through the bowels of the prison. The massive three-week manhunt following their escape ended with Matt shot dead and Sweat captured near the Canadian border.

Mitchell’s lawyer, Peter Dumas, told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican (http://bit.ly/2eZ4cBU) he’s disappointed with the decision and plans to appeal. The board made its decision Friday, Dumas said.

Patricia Arquette plays Mitchell in Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora,” being produced by Ben Stiller. Penelope Ann Miller starred as Mitchell in a Lifetime movie that aired in April.

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