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New York Prison Break: 7 Inmates Who've Passed Through Dannemora

by Jon Schuppe /  / Updated 

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The New York prison where two convicted killers escaped over the weekend is known as "Little Siberia" — for its remote location near the Canadian border and its housing of some of the state's most notorious inmates. Here are a few who have passed through Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.

Charles "Lucky" Luciano
Mobster Charles "Lucky" Luciano sips a drink during a 1948 news conference in the Excelsior Hotel in Rome.Remo Nassi / AP file
  • Charles "Lucky" Luciano: The Mafia boss was one of the architects of modern organized crime. He engineered the division of New York's mob operations among five families, including the one he ran, which became known as the Genovese family. He also organized the Mafia's national ruling body, called the Commission. Luciano's American crime career ended in 1936, when he was convicted on extortion and prostitution charges and sent to Clinton, where, according to the Encyclopedia of American Prisons, he was given his own private cell with curtains and an electric stove. He remained at Clinton until after World War II, when he was deported to his native Italy.
Neue Ermittlungen zu Schuessen auf Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur in 1993.AP file
  • Tupac Shakur: The influential rapper served several months at Clinton in 1995 on a sexual abuse conviction. While there, his album "Me Against the World" hit No. 1, and he penned many letters, a batch of which sold for almost $60,000 this year, nearly two decades after his death.
WU TANG
O.D.B, Ol' Dirty Bastard of the Wu Tang Clan, whose legal name is Russell Jones, in 1998 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.MARK LENNIHAN / AP file
  • Ol' Dirty Bastard: The member of the Wu-Tang Clan, born Russell Tyrone Jones, was sent to Clinton for a series of drug-related probation violations in 2001. By then, his best work was behind him, and he was in a downward spiral that resulted in a transfer to a prison mental facility until his release. He died soon afterward, in November 2004, from a drug overdose in what was ruled an accident.
GREGORY CORSO
Beat poet Gregory Corso.SIPA PRESS
  • Gregory Corso: One of the original poets of the Beat Generation, Corso was a neglected New York City child and became a juvenile delinquent. When he was 16, he took part in a robbery, for which he was sentenced to three years in Clinton. He later claimed that his time behind bars, reading and writing, sent him toward his career as a poet. Soon after his release, became the youngest member of a crowd of influential writers that included Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
Convicted child molester Jesse Friedman, left, the subject of a 2003 Oscar-nominated documentary,"Capturing the Friedmans," speaks to reporters after a judge ordered the release of grand jury testimony and witness statements relating to his 1988 prosecution. At right is Friedman's wife, Lisabeth Walsh.
Convicted child molester Jesse Friedman, left, the subject of a 2003 Oscar-nominated documentary,"Capturing the Friedmans," speaks to reporters after a judge ordered the release of grand jury testimony and witness statements relating to his 1988 prosecution. At right is Friedman's wife, Lisabeth Walsh.Frank Eltman / AP file
  • Jesse Friedman: After he pleaded guilty in 1988 to child molestation charges, Friedman did time at Clinton before being paroled in 2003. After his release, he became the subject of an Academy Award-nominated documentary, "Capturing the Friedmans," which cast serious doubt about his guilt. His effort to have his conviction thrown out and his innocence restored continues.
Joel Rifkin before a 1993 court hearing.
Joel Rifkin before a 1993 court hearing.Mike Albans / AP file
  • Joel Rifkin: A serial killer who preyed on young women on Long Island, Rifkin was convicted of murder in June 1993 and was sent to Clinton in 2000 after challenging his lengthy solitary confinement at Attica Correctional Facility. Rifkin remains at Clinton, serving a sentence of 203 years.
Image: Robert Chambers
Robert Chambers was led in handcuffs into Manhattan criminal court for his arraignment on charges of selling cocaine in 2007.Louis Lanzano / ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Robert Chambers: Known as the "preppy murderer," Chambers pleaded guilty in 1988 to the Central Park killing of Jennifer Levin, a crime that was made into a television movie and came to symbolize the rotten side of life among New York City's privileged youth. Chambers was sent to Clinton to serve his sentence of five to 15 years, and was released in 2003. He is now back in another New York prison, serving a 19-year sentence for drug dealing.

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