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'Soccer Mom Gone Wild' Prison Staffer Romances Killer In Same Facility Where Woman Helped Murderers Escape

The romance bloomed in the same jailhouse shop where Joyce Mitchell hooked up with murderers-turned-escapees Richard Matt and David Sweat two years earlier.

By JB Nicholas

Call it the “Love Shack.”

For the second time in two years, the tailor shop at New York’s maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility has proven to be the place for male prisoners to find female affection.

Seemstress Denise Prell, 39, who served as an assistant to actress Patricia Arquette during the on-location filming of Showtime's upcoming miniseries “Escape at Dannemora,” pleaded guilty Friday to promoting prison contraband, sexual abuse and 23 counts of official misconduct, according to the Press Republican, a local newspaper.

Prell faces up to two years behind bars and $24,500 in fines when she is sentenced later this fall.

Her lawyer, Justin Herzog, told Oxygen.com that jailing Prell for her romantic rendezvous is unnecessary.

“There was no malice in her heart, just misguided puppy love,” he said.

Prell was basically a “soccer mom gone wild,” according to the attorney.

“The likelihood of this woman committing another offense is zero,” Herzog said.

Prell worked in the same prison tailor shop where Joyce Mitchell, 58, developed romantic relationships with convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat, eventually providing them with tools they used to tunnel out of the facility.

The pair eluded police for three weeks, sparking a high-profile manhunt that ended with cops gunning down Matt in a shootout and eventually recapturing Sweat.

Mitchell plead guilty, and was sentenced to up to seven years in prison, according to prison records. She’s been denied parole twice.

The Ben Stiller-directed series about the notorious 2015 escape, starring Arquette as Mitchell, is set for a November release. The series was shot on location at the prison, where Prell was tasked with assisting Arquette during production, according to a report released Friday by the New York State Inspector General’s office.

“Ironically, Prell was also chosen by [prison officials] at this time to be an unpaid assistant to the actress Patricia Arquette, who was at Clinton Correctional Facility for the filming of a television series about the 2015 prison escape and playing the role of tailor shop civilian employee Joyce Mitchell,” the report states.

Prell’s turn as assistant-to-the-stars began around the same time she carried on her romance with the convicted killer between May and September 2017, according to the report. That was less that two years after Mitchell was charged with helping Matt and Sweat escape.

According to the report, Prell’s relationship with the prisoner included “kissing and fondling on at least three occasions,” but during her plea allocution on Friday, she only admitted to kissing the inmate once, according to Herzog, her lawyer.

She also admitted to giving him $100 in cash, made bi-weekly deposits into the inmate’s prison account, and paid money he owed another prisoner to that prisoner’s relative, satisfying the debt.

Prell and the prisoner regularly communicated by telephone, mail, and even exchanged notes and cards in the tailor shop where they worked together.

Both Prell and the prisoner admitted to the affair, according to the report. Prell was fired on September 20, 2017, and arrested by the New York State police two weeks later, according to a state police news release.

“I'm guilty, but it's not all black and white,” Prell told the Press Republican after pleading guilty.

[Photo: New York State Police]

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