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Joyce Mitchell, who aided escape from Dannemora prison, released on parole

Mitchell was sentenced for her role in providing the tools for two men escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in 2015


Joyce Mitchell, who was sentenced for her role in the escape of two men from Clinton Correctional Facility, was released on parole.


Ben Watson

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — The woman behind the prison breakout that consumed the North Country in June of 2015 was released from prison Thursday.

Joyce Mitchell, 55, was tentatively approved for release into parole supervision on Feb. 8 earlier in the year based on the criteria set forth in section 70.40 of the state’s penal code, according to a statement from the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

If the release goes through, the statement said, Mitchell will be released on Thursday to “enhance public safety by giving the individual time to fulfill a next day reporting requirement.”

She has served roughly 4 1/2 of her 2 1/3 to 7 year sentence.

Mitchell was living in Dickinson Center in Franklin County with her husband, Lyle Mitchell, who also worked at the prison, at the time of her arrest.

Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill said his department had not been notified by the state of any details of Mitchell’s release, which is not uncommon.

“She will be in the care of Community Services (parole) and it will be up to them to monitor her,” Mulverhill said. “If she violates parole, then she’ll come to the county jail.”

Mulverhill said as far as he knows, Lyle Mitchell was still living in Dickinson Center.

Although he did not know for sure if Joyce, also known as Tillie, would be moving back in with her husband, he said officers would respond if there are disruptions at her residence.

“You could see a crowd. You never know how people are going to react. There were some people that were very upset and have some pretty deep feelings,” the sheriff said. “My advice to her would be to keep a really low profile.”

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said his department also did not receive any word from the state as to where Mitchell will be going once she is released.

“Typically we get a notice about 30 days prior to release letting us know when someone is being released into our area, but that doesn’t happen all the time,” Favro said. “We’ve received no special instructions or requests in this case.”

Mitchell received the sentence for her role in helping prisoners Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.

The ensuing manhunt lasted more than three weeks and involved hundreds of law enforcement officers from various levels of local police, State Police, Border Patrol, Corrections Emergency Response Teams and forest rangers after Mitchell provided the men with the tools they used to escape.

It cost the region in excess of $23 million.

Matt was shot and killed over the course of the manhunt while Sweat was apprehended after being shot, and is still serving a life sentence in Wende Correctional Facility in Erie County.

State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) a former correction officer and chairman of the Franklin County Legislature, said Mitchell’s crime are “certainly still unforgivable to most of us.”

“The pain her actions caused to many of my constituents during those sleepless nights in June of 2015 still resonate today,” Jones said. “Many of us feel she should have served more time and she should be responsible for more restitution.”