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Breakout from maximum-security prison in New York State ‘unheard of,’ UB expert says

Two inmates who escaped from upstate New York prison must have had assistance, says Charles Ewing

Release Date: June 9, 2015

“Escapees are usually caught within a very, very short distance. This obviously took intelligence, planning, foresight and luck. This is almost inconceivable to me.”
Charles Ewing, law professor
University at Buffalo
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UB law professor Charles Ewing believes the inmates that escaped had some assistance. Photo: Douglas Levere

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The average individual who attempts to escape from prison gets caught within a very short distance of the prison from which they escaped, according to University at Buffalo law professor Charles Ewing.

The type of maximum-security escape of two inmates from an Upstate New York prison last week? Unheard of, says Ewing, who studies forensic psychology and violent behavior.

“They must be very intelligent because this sounds like the movies,” he said. “Escapees are usually caught within a very, very short distance. This obviously took intelligence, planning, foresight and luck. This is almost inconceivable to me.”

Most escape attempts take place outside of the prison – on the way to a court trip, or medical trip, for example, Ewing said. The inmates not only escaped in the most dangerous way possible, but they clearly had intimate knowledge of the architecture and geology of the prison, which suggests they had someone assisting them, he said.

Ewing knows the Clinton Correctional Facility from which the inmates escaped quite well and said the facilities are extremely secure.

“Security just to visit to conduct interviews is incredibly tight, so I am surprised, very surprised,” he said. “It is very secure there. It just sounds so extraordinary to me that inmates could pull this off. It seems they must have had external assistance."

To find UB faculty experts on other topics — including issues trending in the news — visit UB’s Faculty Experts website.

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