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Female worker arraigned in NY prison break–uh, what are women doing in men’s jail anyway?

June 16, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Terrified: With her hands shaking and her lips pressed together, Joyce Mitchell, who allegedly helped two murderers escape from a New York state prison last weekend, was arraigned late Friday night. Above, Mitchell is pictured standing beside her defense attorney during her arraignment in Plattsburgh, New York
Joyce Mitchell in court: “Thought there was something more between them”

Isn’t it time for someone to ask: Is it really a good idea for women to be working in men’s prisons?

Mitchell, whose nickname was “Tillie” was a trained seamstress who supervised Matt and Sweatt sewing uniforms for Clinton employees in the prison tailor shop, where the two murderers worked as perks for several years of good behavior behind bars (another perk: they got to wear blue jeans instead of prison orange–which probably helped them with their escape). According to sources reported by the New York Post, Matt, who was a smooth-talking ladies’ man sporting saturnine looks and an alluring set of steel front teeth, apparently got something going with Mitchell.

We don’t know whether Matt actually tupped Tillie, but the source said “she thought there was something more between them.” Sources also say there were plans–never realized–for Mitchell to drive a getaway car for the two escapees and even for the trio to kill Mitchell’s husband, Lyle Mitchell, who also worked as a supervisor at Clinton.

It was The Shawshank Redemption crossed with The Postman Always Rings Twice.

This is hardly the first time–in fact, it’s about the zillionth time–that romance has blossomed between male inmates and the female employees whom prison authorities feel compelled by civil-rights laws to hire. In March thirteen female guards were indicted for aiding and abetting the Black Guerrilla Family run a drug enterprise out of Baltimore city jails. The guards allegedly smuggled drugs, cellphones, and prescription drugs into the prison. One of the kingpins allegedly used proceeds from drug sale to buy a Mercedes-Benz and other luxury cars that he allowed the female correctional officers to drive. Four of the guards allegedly got pregnant by one of the inmates, and two of those baby mamas got themselves tattooed with his name. And in February 13 a female jail guard in New York City revealed that she was pregnant by the convicted killer of two New York City police detectives.

It’s well-known fact that women love bad boys, and there’s hardly a boy who’s badder than one with a rap sheet. Indeed, a 2007 report by the Justice Department found that 58 percent of instances of sexual misconduct in prison were “perpetrated” by female custodial personnel. The department automatically regards the guard as the aggressor in a sexual incident, because of the supposed power imbalance between her and the inmate–but it’s more likely that most were actually the irrestible product of the prisoner’s beseeching eyes, weight-room musculature, and strategic steel-teeth-displaying smiles.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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