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Lockdown lifted at New York prison nearly 2 weeks after killers' escape

By Doug G. Ware
A Guard from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision directs traffic in front of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, June 13, 2015. Thursday, the maximum security prison lifted a lockdown that had been in place since David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped on June 6. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/34e6d914cb72ebbfa0e3f2c2cdde2876/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A Guard from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision directs traffic in front of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, June 13, 2015. Thursday, the maximum security prison lifted a lockdown that had been in place since David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped on June 6. Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

DANNEMORA, N.Y., June 18 (UPI) -- The Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, about 20 miles from the Canadian border, lifted its lockdown Thursday as two escaped killers remain on the loose, authorities said.

The maximum security prison went into lockdown June 6, when convicted murderers David Sweat and Richard Matt dug holes out of their cells and escaped from the facility. An intensive manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies followed, but the fugitives were still on the run Thursday.

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The prison announced the lifting of the lockdown, which had confined all prisoners to their cells 24 hours a day, at noon local time Thursday. Nearby, police continued to patrol the immediate vicinity looking for the inmates.

Removal of the lockdown means prisoners can receive visitors, eat meals outside of their cells and engage in other normal operating activities.

RELATED New York police shift, scale back search for escaped prisoners

Investigators said Sweat and Matt used power tools to dig a hole in their cells and a steam pipe that led out of the prison. Eventually, they navigated a series of underground routes before emerging through a manhole in a street in nearby Dannemora.

Police have scoured the woods that surround the prison, closed a stretch of highway that runs nearby and are looking for the prisoners in much of the U.S. Northeast.

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A few days after the escape, prison worker Joyce Mitchell was arrested and charged with assisting the men in their escape. Officials said Mitchell, 51, smuggled into the facility some of the items used in the escape -- and even agreed to be the men's getaway driver before changing her mind.

RELATED N.Y. prison escapees elude 800 cops, 900 leads

Matt had been serving 25 years to life for kidnapping, mutilating and killing a former boss in 1997. Sweat was serving a life sentence for killing a sheriff's deputy.

Police have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Matt and Sweat -- $50,000 for each.

RELATED Escaped murderers practiced at night, had determined destination

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