Escape from Dannemora prison seamstress denied parole

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y (WCAX) The prison worker who helped two inmates escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in 2015 has been denied parole again.

Joyce Mitchell/File

New York corrections officials Thursday confirmed that Joyce Mitchell, after meeting with the parole board last week, was denied release.

Mitchell was at the center of the 2015 escape plot that made international headlines. The former prison seamstress was convicted of passing tools to Richard Matt and David Sweat, enabling their escape. The three-week, $20 million manhunt ended with Matt shot dead and Sweat captured near the Canadian border.

In a statement, New York corrections officials said the parole board considers many factors including statements from victims and their families, criminal history, institutional accomplishments and if the person is seen as a danger to the public.

"The terror that our community -- our local community -- went through is just inexcusable, and there is no reason for that, and she was a critical part in allowing all of that to occur and could have avoided that. I think the sentence that she got was very mild given the gravity of the situation, so I think there is no reason why the parole board or society would accept her being released earlier than the sentence was," said Clinton County Sheriff David Favro.

Mitchell is serving a seven-year prison term at the Bedford Hills Prison in New York. It's her second denial by the parole board. She will be eligible for parole again in June 2021.