David Sweat Is Back In Prison

by April Siese

David Sweat was released from the Albany Medical Center early Sunday morning after spending time in the hospital after his capture from law enforcement, who pursued and shot Sweat just five miles from the Canadian border. Now, escapee David Sweat is back in prison, this time at Five Points, a maximum-security facility in Romulus, New York. The prison is located a full 270 miles from the Clinton Correctional Facility from which he and Richard Matt escaped 23 days ago. Matt and Sweat split off rather early following their prison break and Matt was fatally shot by police June 26, just two days before Sweat was detained.

According to law enforcement, Sweat's first day at Five Points will be spent under medical evaluation at a separate facility on the prison campus, as is standard protocol. Though the prisoner was stable enough to make the 200-mile trek from Albany to Romulus, he will nonetheless still be under observation for a full 24 hours. According to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Sweat will then move to a confinement unit in the prison, where he will be locked up in a single cell for 23 hours a day. Although Sweat is under a suicide watch, no statements have been released indicating whether or not Sweat is suicidal.

Five Points can hold up to 1,500 inmates. Sweat will be one of up to 50 prisoners in a special confinement unit there. According to the New York Correctional Association, a majority of inmates are violent offenders, with just 13 percent of inmates serving sentences related to drug offenses. Perhaps the most infamous prisoner at the facility is Lemuel Smith, a convicted serial killer who is serving multiple life sentences. Smith has confessed to five murders and most recently stood trial for the 1981 killing of Donna M. Payant, the first female prison guard to die at the hands of an inmate. Smith was found guilty in 1983.

Prior to escaping, Sweat was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for the murder of Broome County Deputy Kevin Tarsia. He was convicted in 2003. It's unclear when Sweat will go to court over the prison break, though he will most likely be charged with escape and burglary. The previous treatment of Sweat's fellow accomplice following his repeated escape attempts provides some insight in the ways that Sweat's life will drastically change despite returning to yet another maximum-security facility.

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The heightened security around Matt — who was a habitual escapee — even extended to the court room. When Matt was tried and ultimately convicted of murdering his former boss, William Rickerson, in 2008, Matt entered the courtroom with snipers surrounding the building just in case he tried to flee. Likewise, if Sweat were to successfully escape again, it appears that authorities familiar with him would be the first in line to be contacted to help in the investigation.

David Bentley, a retired officer who dealt with Matt during his 2008 murder trial, told the New York Post that it's customary for law enforcement familiar with escaped prisoners to not only be on the lookout for them but be looking after their colleagues. "We have patrols keeping an eye on some of the retired guys who dealt with [Matt]," Bentley says. There have been no reported escapes from Five Points since the facility opened in 2000.

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