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Regional News

Cuomo says anyone who helped prison escapees will be 'prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law'

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After an event in New York City Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters the state will fully prosecute any accomplices of the prisoners who escaped.

The search for two prisoners who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. is nearing a week. Thursday, hundreds of officers walked arms' length apart, searching in a grid pattern through an area two miles east of the prison near the town of Cadyville.The search took law enforcement through mixed terrain including muddy areas, woods and thick underbrush. Residents were ordered to stay in their homes while police went door to door.


David Sweat and Richard Matt, both convicted murderers, used power tools to cut their way out of the prison last weekend. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after an event in New York City Thursday afternoon, said that it's too soon to say what changes may need to be made to the prison system in the wake of this escape.

"We don't know exactly what happened here to know that we need systemic change," said Cuomo.

Instead, officials are concerned with find the escaped prisoners and Cuomo said investigators are talking to several people who may have facilitated the escape.

"I can tell you this: anyone who we find cooperated with the escape or facilitated the escape, that is a crime in and of itself and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

Authorities have been speaking with a female civilian employee at the prison who worked in the prison tailor shop where the escaped prisoners also worked. Officials say the woman may have befriended the prisoners and may have agreed to be a getaway driver for the escaped prisoners, but didn't show up.

"We want to make sure everyone knows in this [prison] system, and we have a large prison system, this does not happen," said Cuomo. "And if you do it, you will be convicted and then you will be on the other side of the prison that you've been policing. And that is not a pleasant place to be."