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Warning: Horrific true crime.
Dade Correctional Institution
Darren Rainey was a 50 year old, mentally ill inmate at a Florida state prison, serving a short sentence for a non-violent offense. He defecated in his cell. (See above, re: mentally ill.) As punishment, his guards locked him into a scalding hot shower.
Other prisoners in that psychiatric unit report hearing his screams and pleas for mercy, but the guards kept him in there for two hours, until he fell silent. Prolonged exposure to 180 degree water had caused his skin to peel off, killing him. The guards then forced another inmate, Mark Joiner, to clean the showers, including removing all the chunks of skin.
The guards responsible have seen no disciplinary action for this. In fact, some have been promoted since then.
Guards at Dade Correctional Institution have been accused of routinely using hot showers as punishment, as well as forcing them to fight each other for sport, withholding meals, withholding medical care, and "gassing" them.
This summer, Darren's brother has been agitating for an investigation. And another inmate has died. Finally, the DOC is taking action.
They fired the warden in charge, Jerry Cummings, and 12 other guards--though not the ones responsible for Darren's death.
Lest you think that being fired is insufficient punishment for years of extreme abuse of power, know this: The DOC also delivered a verbal dressing-down. Specifically, they scolded the guards for making the DOC look bad, stating that "the bad actions of a few tarnish the reputation of the hardworking men and women in our department."
They have also graciously granted Florida law enforcement permission to investigate deaths at Dade.
I really hope that, when you read the above, you had a serious WTF moment. Because what that means is, normally, the police do not have authority to investigate inmate deaths.
I'd like to reiterate that Darren was serving a sentence for possession of a small amount of illegal drugs.
Next time you're tempted to advocate being Tough On Crime... next time you think to yourself, "Those monsters deserve to be there..." I hope you remember that if you get caught with a baggie of weed in your car, you--yes, you--might get stripped naked, locked in a shower, and literally boiled alive.
And maybe then, you'll think twice about giving our government the power to torture and murder our own citizens.
Inmates at worship in Dade County prison.