Showtime’s star-studded Escape at Dannemora series follows a series of bizarre events that are likely still fresh in the minds of the public. The 2015 escape of David Sweat and Richard Matt from Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York led to a weeks-long manhunt and captivated the nation. Now, with actors Paul Dano and Benicio Del Toro in front of the camera as the two escapees and with Ben Still directing, a dramatic eye turns to the events. Richard Matt was killed during the escape, but is David Sweat still in jail?
As it turns out, Sweat remains a prisoner. The most recent reports about his stay in Attica Correctional Facility come from earlier this year, and report that he was being hit with disciplinary charges over allegedly committing sexual act with his girlfriend during visiting hours, per NewYorkUp.com. Sweat had 3.5 to 7 years added to his sentence after being brought back into custody following the escape, according to NBC News. That’s on top of the life sentence he was already serving for killing a sheriff’s deputy, the same piece reports, so he won’t be leaving prison anytime soon.
Attica is also a recently new home to Sweat — according to the New York Times, he was moved there last year after attempting to exchange prison escape plans for better accommodations at Five Points Correctional Facility. An official from the prison agency told the Times the claims of lax security by Sweat were “without merit” but that “out of an abundance of caution, and in accordance with the department’s biannual review policy, Sweat was moved to Attica.”
According to CNN, Sweat told law enforcement following his recapture that he and Matt split up because the latter was slowing him down. He also divulged that they made a last minute decision to head to Canada, which ultimately never was successful, and that they had been planning the escape for months.
The New York Times reports that Sweat and Matt used a hole Sweat had sawed in the back of his sell, and he would try and find a way out through the tunnels that sat underneath the prison. The duo lied to officers and slowly but surely cultivated a secret escape route out of sight from any of the people who were meant to be supervising them. Sweat, by all reports, was a sort of mastermind behind the actual construction of an escape route, using intricate construction methods to create a path to freedom.
Dano will play Sweat in Escape at Dannemora, and in a promotional video for Showtime, the actor said he visited the real escapee in prison in preparation for the role.
“It’s hard to look at somebody who’s behind bars and see that they have a sense of humor. Or [think] he’s nice, but he killed somebody,” Dano said. “I don’t think he’s somebody who ever had a chance. It’s too bad because I think he had the mind of an engineer, or something. You will see in the show, these are not things an average person can navigate.”
Sweat remains in prison, but Escape at Dannemora seems like it’ll bring a concentrated eye on what exactly occurred behind the closed doors of Clinton Correctional Facility and beyond.