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The Roundtable

Charles Gardner Talks About Dannemora And The Largest Manhunt In New York State

Book cover for "Dannemora"

In June 2015, two vicious convicted murderers broke out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, in New York’s North Country, launching the most extensive manhunt in state history. Aided by prison employee Joyce Mitchell, double murderer Richard Matt and cop-killer David Sweat slipped out of their cells, followed a network of tunnels and pipes under the thirty-foot prison wall, and climbed out of a manhole to freedom.

For three weeks, the residents of local communities were virtual prisoners in their own homes as law enforcement from across the nation swept the rural wilderness near the Canadian border. The manhunt made front-page headlines—as did the prison sex scandal involving both inmates and Joyce Mitchell—and culminated in a dramatic and bloody standoff.

Charles Gardner, a lifelong resident of the community and a former correction officer who began his training at Clinton and ultimately oversaw the training of staff in twelve prisons, including Clinton, tells the whole story from an insider's point of view in his book: "Dannemora: Two Escaped Killers, Three Weeks of Terror, and the Largest Manhunt Ever in New York State."

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