Guards at Dade CI scald a mentally ill inmate to death, routinely brutalize others in mental unit

by Crane-Station

DadeCIHomesteadCIFlorida
By Tami Jo Urban from Detroit, USA (Dade Correctional Institution) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In a Sunday article titled, Behind bars, a brutal and unexplained death, the Miami Herald published the unconscionable details of 50-year-old inmate Darren Rainey’s last hour of life at the hands of staff at the Dade Correctional Institution, near Miami. Mr. Rainey was serving two years for cocaine possession, and since he was mentally ill, he was housed on a mental unit. Julie K Brown at the Herald writes:

The purported details of Darren Rainey’s last hour are difficult to read.

“I can’t take it no more, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again,’’ he screamed over and over, according to a grievance complaint from a fellow inmate, as Rainey was allegedly locked in a shower with the scalding water turned on full blast.

A 50-year-old mentally ill inmate at the Dade Correctional Institution, Rainey was pulled into the locked shower by prison guards as punishment after defecating in his cell and refusing to clean it up, said the fellow inmate, who worked as an orderly. He was left there unattended for more than an hour as the narrow chamber filled with steam and water.

When guards finally checked on prisoner 060954, he was on his back and dead. His skin was so burned that it had shriveled from his body, a condition referred to as slippage, according to a medical document involving the death.

According to the article, the incident happened nearly two years ago, but there has been no autopsy, the investigation has been closed, and no charges have been filed. The information only came to light because another inmate, who was working as an orderly, filed formal grievances about this and other incidents as well. The article explains:

The shower treatment was only one form of punishment inflicted by the prison’s guards to keep mentally ill patients in line, according to the inmate/orderly and two other sources privy to the goings-on at the state prison.

The inmate/orderly, a convicted burglar named Harold Hempstead serving a decades-long sentence, filed repeated formal complaints, beginning in January 2013, with the DOC inspector general, alleging that prison guards subjected inmates — housed in the mental health unit — to extreme physical abuse and withheld food from some who became unruly. The complaints were sent back, most with a short, type-written note saying the appeal was being returned “without action” or had already been addressed.

Furthering its investigation and based on what three former employees related, the Herald published a subsequent article titled, Staff at a Miami-Dade prison tormented, abused mentally ill inmates, former worker says. One of the former employees was a psychotherapist assigned to the mental unit prior to Darren Rainey’s death, but a former colleague told him of the details. The psychotherapist, named George Mallinckrodt, filed a complaint with the US Department of Justice last month, about Mr. Rainey, as well as a “series of other incidents.” The Herald explains:

In his letter, Mallinckrodt said that guards “taunted, tormented, abused, beat, and tortured chronically mentally ill inmates on a regular basis,” hoping to provoke a response so the inmates could then be punished. He described specific incidents of alleged abuse, including the beating of inmate Joseph Swilling, a longtime criminal who showed Mallinckrodt his injuries during an anger management session.

Swilling said guards handcuffed him behind his back and led him into a hallway out of range of video cameras, where they threw him on the floor and repeatedly kicked him.

A murderer who hung himself in the unit last September, Richard Mair, left a suicide note in his shorts accusing guards of sexually abusing inmates and forcing black and white inmates to fight each other for the entertainment of staff.

Mallinckrodt said he filed a variety of complaints with the prison and the Department of Corrections’ inspector general about the abusive treatment, but never received a response. He said he also took his concerns directly to Warden Jerry Cummings.

and

Mallinckrodt said the handles in that shower were broken in the “on” position and guards controlled the flow from the central shut-off valve, where they were able to turn up the water temperature to excruciating levels.

In his letter to the Department of Justice, Mallinckrodt said that after Rainey’s death, a nurse called him saying she had overheard a corrections officer remark: “I don’t think we can get away with this one.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

Aside from an apparent temporary suspension of the warden and a few others for “deficiencies in the kitchen” noted during an audit of Dade Correctional Institution, according to the article, nothing has been done. It is reasonable to assume that staff will continue its brutal abuse of patient inmates in the mental unit, and killing for sport at the facility will continue unbridled.

[hat tip: bettykath for turning our attention to this. cross-posted at MyFDL/Firedoglake]

Related:

After latest death, Florida prison system faces more scrutiny
“FDLE is investigating an inmate death that occurred Thursday. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade police say they failed to save the 911 tape in the unexplained death of another inmate.”

Miami Herald: Allegations Of Abuse Of Mentally-Ill In Florida Prison

17 Responses to Guards at Dade CI scald a mentally ill inmate to death, routinely brutalize others in mental unit

  1. I’m George Mallinckrodt, the only former staffer at Dade CI to come forward publicly about the egregious behavior of guards in the psych unit called the Transitional Care Unit. As a result of the stories broken by the Miami Herald’s Julie Brown, it is comforting to know I’m not alone anymore in bringing the abuse, beating, torture, and murder of inmates to the attention of the public. Almost two years ago, after I answered my phone with a typical “Hello,” my former coworker blurted out, “They killed him!” Ever since, I’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to the murder of Darren Rainey. I contacted the FDLE, FBI, Miami Metro Homicide, and the ME’s office to no avail. When Julie broke the story Sunday, May 18, 2014, there was no doubt in my mind that I would come forward. I may not have been able to change much when I was working in prison, but now it appears I have been more successful on the outside. I’ve got to give the inmate, Harold Hempstead, a massive amount of credit in coming forward as he did. As we all know now, really bad things happen to men in prison.

    The complaint I lodged with the Dept. of Justice in DC may now receive the attention it deserves. No doubt one of thousands of complaints filed every year, perhaps as a result of recent publicity, it may move up a bit in the line. Of course, I’d like to see it go straight to the top.

    GM

    • masonblue says:

      Dr. Mallinckrodt, thank you so much for wanting to end the inhumanity and for speaking out. Welcome to the site. My name is Rachel Leatherman, and I am Fred’s wife, and I post as Crane-Station. I am the person who posted this article. The topic is dear to us, as I served nearly two years in Kentucky, and am writing about it. The passing public has a right to know the truth. I applaud you, more than you know, for speaking out, for those who have no voice.

      That said, I shared this article at a larger site where I post regularly- Firedoglake. Would you mind terribly if I cross posted your comment, at that site?

      • Sure that would be fine. I’ve pasted the text below. Please check my website for more details.
        GM
        PS – I’m not a Dr., just a licensed psychotherapist in FL!

        I’m George Mallinckrodt, the only former staffer at Dade CI to come forward publicly about the egregious behavior of guards in the psych unit called the Transitional Care Unit. As a result of the stories broken by the Miami Herald’s Julie Brown, it is comforting to know I’m not alone anymore in bringing the abuse, beating, torture, and murder of inmates to the attention of the public. Almost two years ago, after I answered my phone with a typical “Hello,” my former coworker blurted out, “They killed him!” Ever since, I’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to the murder of Darren Rainey. I contacted the FDLE, FBI, Miami Metro Homicide, and the ME’s office to no avail. When Julie broke the story Sunday, May 18, 2014, there was no doubt in my mind that I would come forward. I may not have been able to change much when I was working in prison, but now it appears I have been more successful on the outside. I’ve got to give the inmate, Harold Hempstead, a massive amount of credit in coming forward as he did. As we all know now, really bad things happen to men in prison.

        The complaint I lodged with the Dept. of Justice in DC may now receive the attention it deserves. No doubt one of thousands of complaints filed every year, perhaps as a result of recent publicity, it may move up a bit in the line. Of course, I’d like to see it go straight to the top.

        GM

        http://georgemallinckrodt.com/index.htm

  2. colin black says:

    OT: We are scanning chain of evidence documents, for our first document dump: Drug exhibit chain of custody, Kentucky style.
    I will post that this evening.

    Kentucky style so you dip them in special batter an deep fry ?

  3. OT: We are scanning chain of evidence documents, for our first document dump: Drug exhibit chain of custody, Kentucky style.
    I will post that this evening.

  4. The irony? They force-feed fundamentalist Christianity in these places, even as they are murdering people.

    • gblock says:

      In my opinion, fundamentalist Christianity is not particularly compassionate.

      • masonblue says:

        Crane-Station here. My observation/opinion is, that someone self-identifying as Christian, who lacks empathy, or humanity, or compassion, or feeling- are not Christian. They only call themselves that.

  5. Malisha says:

    There need to be guards charged with premeditated murder now.

    • masonblue says:

      Crane-Station here. Exactly. In fact, I was just about to post this comment:

      Miami Herald editorial:

      End inhumanity at Dade Correctional Institute

      OUR OPINION: Give culpable corrections officers prison time; give mentally ill inmates treatment

      However, this abomination is symptomatic of Florida’s deeper problem of keeping mentally ill inmates in jail, rather than giving them treatment as they pay their debt to society. But if past behavior is any indication, Florida’s not about to do what makes the most sense. As Miami-Dade County Court Judge Steve Leifman pointed out on the Herald’s Other Views page this week: “Florida ranks 49th nationally in funding for community mental-health treatment. . . . The cost to taxpayers to house them is nearly $1 billion annually.”

      My additional take: This was aggravated pre-meditated first degree murder of a vulnerable adult, under the supervision of his murderers, who acted with extreme and unspeakable cruelty.

      Every one of these animals should serve life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

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