Prisoners' manipulation of correctional workers: Avoiding the psychological trap

Criminals seek to manipulate. While this is not necessarily a new or ground-breaking fact, it is something correctional staff must understand.

​By Michael Pittaro, assistant professor, Criminal Justice at American Military University

On June 6, convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. Two weeks since their escape Matt and Sweat remain at large, despite a massive nationwide manhunt involving local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

The primary suspect in assisting the prisoners’ elaborate escape plan is Joyce “Tillie” Mitchell, who worked in the prison as a tailor shop instructor, according to news reports. She has been arrested and is criminally accused of supplying the power tools used by Matt and Sweat to aid in their escape.

​Mitchell has been described by close friends and former coworkers as hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. She is supposedly a churchgoing, proud military mom and the wife of a local firefighter.

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