Panel DENIES parole for ‘easily manipulated’ prison tailor who helped two killers escape

For a second time, a New York board has denied parole to a prison tailor who helped two killers escape from jail in 2015, as reported by NBC5.

The Plattsburgh Press-Republican notes that the state parole board handed down their ruling on Friday. The decision means that Joyce Mitchell, 53, will have to serve at least two more years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.

Mitchell was jailed for helping Richard Matt and David Sweat (pictured center and right) escape through a manhole at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in June 2015. The prison break resulted in a three-week manhunt which involved more than 1,500 officers. The manhunt concluded with Matt being fatally shot and Sweat’s capture

In September 2015, a court sentenced Mitchell to between 2 1/3 and 7 years for promoting prison contraband. It has been reported that she will serve an additional year for facilitating criminal activity and will have to pay $80,000 in restitution.

Mitchell claimed that the relationship she had with Matt started out flirtatious but quickly became abusive.

“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 Friday’s decision, according to NYup. “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.”

Though the parole board took into account Mitchell’s good behavior, they decided that it wasn’t enough to grant her release.

Mitchell was also denied parole in February. At that time, the board determined that she still saw herself more as a victim than a willing participant—noting that she appeared “emotionally unstable and easily manipulated,” according to the Press-Republican.

However, her attorney, Peter Dumas, said he plans to appeal the most recent decision.

“I’m disappointed in the decision and need to explore Mrs. Mitchell’s remedies, carefully and completely,” Dumas told reporters.

Mitchell’s next parole hearing is in June 2019. If denied an early release, she could remain behind bars until June 8, 2022.

[Featured Image: Bedford Hills Correctional Facility/U.S. Marshals Service]