I have been following the news reports quite closely from the moment I heard 2 prisoners escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility a NY State maximum security prison. This story is very personal to me as a victim of a violent sexual predator who currently serves a 21 year sentence in a Pennsylvania maximum security prison and then will be transferred to an Idaho maximum security prison to serve a Life sentence. In the time period leading up to my attacker's, Jeffrey Marsalis, trial and during my counseling I shared my fear that he would escape, somehow find and harm me for testifying against him. Although seemingly irrational and I've spent a lot of time working through it, there was and (now proven) is a very small chance it could happen.
The two convicted felons (Richard Matt & David Sweat) now on the loose were heinous, vicious murderers and I can imagine what the victims are thinking and feeling until they are finally caught and returned to prison. As the details unfolded and continue to do so every day I think about them because I know from personal experience the fears I had that they are now living out in real time. If I could I would speak to them or meet with them face to face to show my support and share that I want to be there however they may need me.
As if it wasn't bad enough that these violent men were now free it was then reported that a prison employee took it upon herself to not just decide that a judge and jury conviction was incorrect but to help the two escape. I don't care that she may have been charmed by one or both of them or whatever else her attorney may explain away her behavior but she went to the next level by assisting them. Since her arrest I watch the footage of Joyce Mitchell online or on television and get extremely angry. My disgusted reaction is a result of my knowledge and experience of what it takes to put a criminal behind bars no matter what the crime and how high the stakes and the personal investment made not just from the victims and their families but from law enforcement and the prosecutors office. Every step throughout the legal process is, as I see it, another hurdle to get over in order to get justice as a victim. The stress and anxiety experienced can only be described as all consuming until the verdict comes in from the Jury and they say the magic word "GUILTY". But even then there is still one more hurdle to overcome and that's the sentencing by the judge. Will it be what the accused and now convicted deserves?
So the trial and sentencing are over and the convicted are "safely" away in prison only does the real healing begin for the victims and families. But not in this case! If this was happening to me I would show up in court every day that Joyce Mitchell appears and write as many letters as humanly possible to the judge and prosecutors office asking that no mercy and the harshest penalties be imposed on her for undoing what a jury and judge had done. Since it, thankfully, not happening to me what I can do is share my experience and publicly show my support for the families of the victims who crossed paths with those awful men.