Reports that a sexual relationship had developed between two escaped New York inmates and a prison employee who has been charged with helping them break out 11 days ago illustrates the difficulties of policing relationships within prisons. The problem of sex between prisoners and staff is well documented and enough of a concern that New York set up a special statewide office in 1996 to investigate and prevent it. Joyce Mitchell, 51, was charged this week with providing chisels and hacksaws to convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, who were found missing from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, near the Canadian border on June 6.
A New York state appeals court heard arguments on Tuesday over unsealing minutes of a grand jury that declined to indict a white New York police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man. A coalition of groups seeking release of the transcripts told the four-judge panel that grand jury secrecy undermined confidence in the justice system and hampered debate among state lawmakers weighing grand jury reforms. The groups, which included the Legal Aid Society, want the appeals court to overturn a Staten Island justice's decision in March to bar release of records of the grand jury that probed the death of Eric Garner, 43, last year.