Sources tell Breitbart News that James O’Gorman, the New York State Assistant Commissioner for Correctional Facilities who was appointed interim superintendent at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora on Tuesday, denied then-Superintendent Steven Racette’s request to place the facility on lockdown after a fight between inmates on May 31.
NBC reported on June 16 that if that lockdown had been approved, it may have thwarted the dramatic escape by convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat on June 6:
It’s possible guards could have thwarted the Dannemora prison break before it even started.
Officials had requested a full lock down and search of the New York prison following a melee there a week before two convicted killers escaped — but the request was denied, several sources told NBC News.
A cell-by-cell search that accompanies such lock downs could potentially have discovered the plot by convicted murderers Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 35, to escape from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., on June 6, sources said…
More than five sources with knowledge of the events at the prison confirmed there was a fight or a “melee” in one of the yards on May 31st. The melee involved 30-40 inmates.
Matt was shot and killed on June 26 near Elephant’s Head, New York in nearby Franklin County. Sweat was shot and captured on June 28 in a corn field in the Town of Constable, New York, just a mile and a half south of the Canadian border, also in Franklin County.
Breitbart News has asked Linda Foglia, spokesperson for DOCCS to confirm or deny the report from sources that O’Gorman is the state official who denied Racette’s May 31 lockdown request, but has received no response.
O’Gorman’s interim tenure was short lived. Late Wednesday, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) emailed a statement to Breitbart News that Michael Kirkpatrick has been named the new permanent superintendent at Clinton Correctional Facility.
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) today named Michael Kirkpatrick the new Superintendent of the Clinton Correctional Facility. Mr. Kirkpatrick most recently served as First Deputy Superintendent at Elmira Correctional Facility. Prior to that, Mr. Kirkpatrick was a member of the Corrections Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) for eight years, the last four serving as the Colonel in charge of the entire C.E.R.T. unit. Mr. Kirkpatrick also worked at Auburn and Sing Sing Correctional Facilities. Mr. Kirkpatrick has more than 30 years of experience working for the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Superintendent Kirkpatrick’s immediate tasks include 1) ensuring that all of the initial corrective actions described below are being vigorously and well implemented, 2) determining if additional corrective steps need to be taken immediately and 3) and preparing to take any necessary further action when the Office of the Inspector General has completed its work.
Former Superintendent Racette, who was placed on paid administrative leave yesterday, will retire, according to a report in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican.