Florida Prison Guards Terminated after Spate of Inmate Deaths

32 Fired after Investigation Reveals Wrongful Behavior

In the aftermath of a call by U.S. Attorney Eric Holder’s office for an investigation into practices in Florida prisons, the state’s Department of Corrections has terminated 32 guards. Department Secretary Michael Crews said that all of those who were dismissed had been found to have engaged in either criminal acts or violations of prison policies and procedures. The investigation focused on the deaths of inmates at four prisons in Florida.

The incident that brought the problems to the state and national spotlight involved the death of a mentally ill inmate, Darren Rainey, in the Dade Correctional Institution in Miami. Rainey was serving a two year sentence for possession of cocaine. The investigation indicated that Rainey was accused by prison guards of defecating in his cell without cleaning it up.

To punish him for this alleged misdeed, Rainey was made to stand in a shower stall where he was sprayed with steam and near-boiling hot water. Witnesses claim they could hear Rainey screaming, promising over and over not to do it again. They also say guards taunted Rainey, asking him if the water was hot enough. Rainey was left to stand in the shower for over an hour. Guards returned to find him dead. When they went to move him, they found that his skin was coming loose, a condition medical experts call “slippage,” the result of his skin being “cooked.”

Investigators also found ample evidence that guards and officials at the Dade Correctional facility tried to cover up the incident. Corrections officers dragged his body to the infirmary, but never took any photographs, collected video footage or took any statements from guards or officers the night of his death. Furthermore, they did not save the 911 recording. They then alleged that Rainey had suffered a heart attack. They also claimed that the camera outside the shower malfunctioned right after Rainey was placed inside.

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