Former inmate tells of life inside Clinton Correctional Facility

Now that the search for two escaped killers in New York has ended, the search for answers is intensifying.

A dozen more employees at Clinton Correctional facility in Upstate New York have been put on administrative leave.  That includes the prison's superintendent and his deputy in charge of security.

Inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from the facility June 6. Matt was later killed; Sweat was shot and captured.

We caught up with a man who knows firsthand what it's like to be locked up. Lou Ferrante served time in the Clinton Correctional Facility. He shared his insight on just how an escape like that can happen.

"Career criminal," Ferrante said. "Every dollar I ever had in my hand came from crime. All I ever knew, was criminal activity from when I was 13 years old until I went to prison at age 25."

Ferrante is no longer who he was. For this former mobster, the path to redemption included time in federal and state prisons, including the Clinton Correctional Facility.

"We referred to it as 'Little Siberia,'" Ferrante said of Clinton Correctional. "The snow around there just made everything look so deserted and disgusting and depressing to me."

It's maximum security, housing some of the most dangerous. Drugs, killings, hopelessness- it's all inside.

"The guy, Matt- he killed somebody in a brutal way and chopped him up," Ferrante said. "You're living with that guy. You really hope he never thinks you stole his apple or something out of his locker."

So, how could Richard Matt and David Sweat escape? Behind bars, manipulation is the name of the game.

"When you're a convict, your job is to figure out how to corrupt somebody and that's how I was before I changed. How can I get something here that someone else can't get?" he said.

The target in the escape case? Prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell. Investigators say she smuggled meat containing tools, helping the men break free.

"If she gave the slightest inclination she was lonely or discontent at home, one of those guys is going to hone in on that and he will work that every day," Ferrante continued.

Staff must balance being kind for their own safety, without being too kind. In this case, he says, Mitchell fell for it.

"People are people and you can never remove that from the equation," Ferrante said.

As for Ferrante, he escaped prison, too. He did it by reading for 18 hours a day, successfully overturning his conviction and becoming an internationally best-selling author, speaker, and TV host.

"I feel bad still, obviously, for anybody who was a victim for any crime I committed," Ferrante added. "Any way I go about my life is just pay it forward."