The warden of Clinton Correctional Facility and 11 of his underlings have been put on ice.
Two days after the second killer who escaped from the maximum-security prison was captured, Superintendent Steven Racette was placed on administrative leave, the state Department of Corrections said Tuesday.
Also shelved indefinitely were Deputy Superintendent for Security Stephen Brown, First Deputy Superintendent Donald Quinn and nine corrections officers, according to sources and the Corrections Department.
Meanwhile, James O’Gorman, the assistant commissioner for correctional facilities, will take over for Racette “as the new leadership team transitions this week,” according to a Corrections Department statement.
The reshuffling came a day after the FBI launched an investigation into a possible heroin ring at the prison — and after Gov. Cuomo downplayed any failure at the prison Richard Matt and David Sweat busted out of June 6.
“It’s clearly not a facility that is highly problematic,” the governor said Monday. “I would take the record of one escape every 100 years if we could get that guarantee right now. But one escape is one too many, and I want to find out what happened and make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure it never happens again.”
Sweat, 35, was captured Sunday near the Canadian border after eluding police for 23 days. He is recuperating from being shot twice in the torso and is in fair condition at Albany Medical Center.
Matt, 49, who was serving 25 years to life for killing and dismembering a former boss, was killed Friday.
Five days before he was captured, Sweat ditched Matt because he believed the older inmate — and his bleeding, blistered feet — was slowing him down, Cuomo said.
Mitchell, 51, has also admitted she had sex with both of the prisoners — under the nose of her husband, Lyle, who also works at the prison.
Cuomo said the escapees’ original plan was to try to make it to Mexico, and that Mitchell was supposed to drive them there. But they were forced to hoof it after Mitchell got cold feet and failed to show up with the getaway Jeep.
Sweat, who was serving a life sentence for killing a sheriff’s deputy, told investigators that Palmer, 57, had nothing to do with the escape.
Palmer also told investigators he had no idea an escape was being hatched. But he admitted giving Matt and Sweat a screwdriver and needle-nose pliers to tinker with the electrical boxes on the catwalk so they could cook in their cells.
The convicts were on an “honor block” where well-behaved inmates are allowed at times to cook their own meals.
Palmer also admitted giving them frozen hamburger meat stuffed with smuggled tools, but he insisted he did not know the meat was seasoned with contraband.