Two convicted killers escaped from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York five days ago because of a “major blunder in facility management and corrections custody,” former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.
“This plan didn’t hatch overnight,” Kerik, who commanded the New York City’s force during the 9/11 attacks, told “The Hard Line” host Ed Berliner. “This thing was going on for weeks, if not months. They had to do practice runs.
“Why weren’t those cells searched? This is a major custody-management failure — and really the press has not been covering that.”
Kerik is the author of the best-selling book, “From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054.”
He slammed the prison’s management on a wide range of issues that most likely contributed to the inmates’ escape, including them being housed in an “honor dorm.”
“They’re both convicted murderers,” Kerik told Berliner. “One killed a cop, which is the worst classification of inmate you could have. One was an escape risk. He had already escaped once.
“In this honor dorm, they have them in civilian clothes. There weren’t any jumpsuits. That’s number one. Number two, where were the facility checks? Those guys should be counted every hour, on the hour, at a minimum.
“When you’re doing a facility count like this, you’ve got to see a living, breathing body,” Kerik explained. “If that guy’s not breathing, if the person’s not breathing, you’ve got to make sure they get up so you could see them.
“If you tap on the bars, they don’t respond, you need a supervisor to open the cell, get in there and check them.”
He noted how other inmates have described the atmosphere in the Clinton prison as “crazy loud.”
“Music until 4 a.m.; lights out 10 p.m. ‘Lights out’ means everything’s off at 10 p.m.,” Kerik said. “That was not the case. That means they could’ve been doing anything in that housing area and nobody would’ve heard it.
“The lack of security in this facility could’ve helped these guys 90 percent of the way.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised a full investigation — and Kerik told Berliner that he must focus on prison staff.
“Somebody did not do those counts. Somebody was not checking those cells and searching those cells. This stuff would’ve been found a long time before.
“They’re going to look at the programs services. Why were these guys allowed to be in a position with unescorted movement?
“These are convicted murderers,” Kerik said. “It should not have been unescorted movement — and there’s a ton of other issues that are going to have to be looked at.”
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