What New York Prison Guard Said About Life Behind Bars

Gene Palmer, 57, an officer at the Clinton Correctional facility in Dannemora, New York, (light blue shirt) was arrested June 24, 2015, in connection with the escape of two convicted murderers who have evaded capture for weeks.PlayKeshia Clukey/Times Union
WATCH Guard's Interview Reveals Details About Inner Workings of NY Prison

The New York prison guard who has been arrested for his alleged involvement with two escaped inmates had previously aired his grievances about working at the maximum-security facility.

Gene Palmer did a radio interview in 2000 about the inner-workings of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, where the convicted murderers escaped 20 days ago.

"Usually, we have a rat system, where, 'Well, we know you're gonna do this, we're gonna tell,' and that’s how we suppress a lot of things around here," he said during the interview with North Country Public Radio.

Gangs were also "one of the most challenging things" that corrections officers dealt with inside the prison, he said during the interview.

"There's a man, he's a convict here, I believe he killed his wife... If anybody was to come up to him and say, 'Give me your lunch money,' he could make the right calls and things would be quickly clarified on who's the boss out here," Palmer said.

Palmer, 57, was first hired by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in 1987 and was transferred to the Clinton Correctional Facility the next year.

"With the money that they pay you, you'll go bald, you'll have high blood pressure, you'll become an alcoholic, you'll divorce and then you'll kill yourself. It's a negative environment," Palmer said during the interview 15 years ago.

He was suspended without pay Thursday, the same day he was arrested to face felony charges of promoting prison contraband and tampering with physical evidence.

He was being paid $72,644 a year at the time of his suspension.

Palmer is accused of giving inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat art supplies, tools and access to the catwalks behind the walls of their cell to do electrical work, court documents report.

The veteran officer, who also allegedly inadvertently passed the inmates tools in frozen hamburger meat, appeared at Plattsburgh Town Court Wednesday and did not enter a plea. He was later released from Clinton County Jail after posting $25,000 bail, the jail confirmed.

The office of William Dreyer, who is Palmer’s attorney, said they are not speaking to the media at this time.