NY Prison Seamstress on Escape Plot: ‘I Just Got in Over My Head'

The prison seamstress who pleaded guilty to helping two convicted killers escape a maximum-security prison in northern New York, sparking a three-week manhunt, said she got in over her head and didn't see a way out of the plot. 

"I was going through a point in my life — a lot of people go through depression. A lot of people go through that. And I just got in over my head. And I couldn't get out. And I couldn't tell anybody. I couldn't tell my husband. Couldn't tell my family. I couldn't tell my coworkers. I couldn't tell anybody. There's nobody you can tell," Joyce Mitchell told "Today's" Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview in Clinton County Jail, where she is awaiting sentencing.

Mitchell, who worked in the Clinton Correctional Facility tailor shop with the two inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, has pleaded guilty to first-degree promoting prison contraband, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor, for the help she gave the men, including smuggling hacksaw blades inside the prison in frozen hamburger meat. She could get up to seven years when she is sentenced.

Matt was shot dead June 26, and Sweat was shot and captured two days later near the Canadian border, ending a 23-day manhunt.

Asked whether Matt had "complete control" over her, Mitchell said, "Yes. He was good at that."

Mitchell also revealed how the prisoners got so close to her and addressed the rumors of intimate relationships with them. 

Lauer's interview with Mitchell will air in two parts on "Today," Monday and Friday, Sept. 14 and 18, and as a special two-hour Dateline Friday, Sept. 18 at 9 p.m. ET.

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