Human rights and faith-based groups call for federal investigation into disturbing scalding death at Florida prison
Darren Rainey died being blasted with scalding hot water; ACLU of Florida, Florida Justice Institute, Amnesty International, Florida Council of Churches, NAACP sent letter to Atty. Gen. Holder urging federal investigation into series of inmate deaths and abuse of mentally ill detainees in Florida facilities.
MIAMI, FL – Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, along with the Florida Justice Institute, Amnesty International, the Florida Council of Churches, and the Florida Conference of NAACP Branches called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the disturbing scalding death of Darren Rainey at a Miami area prison.
In a letter sent recently to Attorney General Eric Holder, the groups also called for the DOJ to investigate reports of mistreatment of mentally ill inmates at Florida correctional facilities.
On June 23, 2012, Florida corrections officers locked Mr. Rainey, a prisoner with mental illness, in a closet-size shower stall at the Dade Correctional Institution (DCI), a facility of the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC), as a form of punishment. He was left un-attended, and after approximately two hours of being blasted with scalding hot water with temperatures that were later measured as high as 180 degrees, Mr. Rainey was found dead – his skin separated from his body.
The letter to Attorney General Holder explains that state and county officials have a-voided investigation and public accountability for Mr. Rainey’s death, which is not the only recent death of an inmate in a Florida prison. Despite the fact that the autopsy was completed 18 months ago, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner has declined to release the autopsy report to either the public or the Rainey family.
Although a DOC investigation into the death has been re-opened, the department will not investigate whether anyone should be held accountable for the death of Darren Rainey.
From the letter:
“After two years, no one has been held accountable, and in-deed it appears that no one will be held accountable for the death of Darren Rainey, unless an investigation is conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Darren Rainey’s death is one of seven Florida prison deaths now under scrutiny. But particularly because Florida corrections officials and other agencies have gone to such lengths to avoid an investigation that could hold someone accountable for his death.
“We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to explore the need for an investigation of the death of Darren Rainey, allegations that scalding hot showers are or have been used as a form of punishment on other mentally ill inmates as well as other forms of in-appropriate punishment..”
The letter is available here: http://aclufl.org/resources/letter-doj-investigation-fl-prisons/