Dannemora, New York – At 51 years of age, Joyce Mitchell who was a prison seamstress at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, was sentenced to up to seven years in prison for conspiring with two convicts, David Sweat and Richard Matt, to escape from the facility. The sentence was issued on Monday, just two months after she pleaded guilty.

Mitchell was jailed a short time after inmates Sweat and Matt escaped in June. Authorities claimed that Mitchell provided the prisoners with tools before the escape by hiding them in hamburger meat.

“I believe I helped Inmate Matt and Inmate Sweat escape because I was caught up in the fantasy. I enjoyed the attention, the feeling both of them gave me and the thought of a different life,” Mitchell said in one statement. Credit: NBC News.

The accused, showed quite affected after Monday’s sentence and said, “If I could take it all back I would. I live with regret every day and will for the rest of my life.” She tried to defend herself by saying that her conspiracy was only because she feared the inmates to the point that the security of her own family was compromised.

Mitchell even implored for mercy and suggested to the judge some alternatives ways to pay for her mistake, like wearing an ankle bracelet for the rest of her life.

The sentence

Nevertheless, the judge responsible for the case, Kevin Ryan, did not seem to be entirely convinced by her allegations and imposed a sentence of an indeterminate period of imprisonment ranging from 2 1/3 years to 7 years under a contraband count. He said that he did not found Mitchell’s arguments credible.

“You did terrible things,” Judge Kevin K. Ryan of Clinton County Court told the former employee, Joyce E. Mitchell, during her sentencing hearing. “At any time, you could have stopped the escape from happening,” the New York Times reported.

The 51-year-old seamstress will also receive a fine of $5,000 and $1,000, respectively, for each charge that was attributed. “I am 51 years old. And this is by far the worst mistake I have ever made in my life,” Mitchell claimed.

The public was not on Mitchell’s side either, the judge said that he had received many letters asking him to reject the deal and sentence her to a longer period.

On the other hand, Stephen Johnston, who is the attorney representing Mitchell’s case, said that the inmates also used power tools to carry out their escape, and that did not rest on the accused. He stated that the prisoners must have had some extra help.

“I believe there was another assistance somehow provided to these men,” Stephen Johnston told the judge. But prosecutors say there is no evidence of anyone other than Mitchell helping the men, as NBC News reports.

What happened with the prisoners?

As it goes for Matt and Sweat, the freedom did not last long. Both were found and shot by authorities. Matt was found near the town of Elephant’s Head in upstate New York, while Sweat was located near the town of Constable, also in New York.

In addition, Mitchell is looking for mental help and counseling. She said that she is still trying to comprehend her actions and choices. But a final decision has been made.

Source: The New York Times