Darren Rainey was a schizophrenic man serving time at Dade Correctional Institution when he died in the shower in June 23, 2012. He was placed in the shower by four guards, where the water temperature reached 180 degrees, as a punishment for some offense. A Miami-Dade prosecutor just announced that there will be no charges brought because his death was not the officers’ fault.
From The Miami Herald:
The report, issued by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, said the death of 50-year-old prisoner Darren Rainey was an accident, the result of complications from his mental illness, a heart condition and “confinement in a shower.”
At least six inmates claimed that the shower was specially rigged so that corrections officers controlled the temperature and were able to crank it up to scalding — or down to an uncomfortably frigid spray, thereby using it as punishment to control unruly inmates, most of whom suffered from mental illnesses.
Among the most controversial portions of the state inquiry is the temperature of the shower. The report gives no indication that crime scene investigators turned on the water to see how hot it ran. A prison captain, assigned as the environmental health and safety officer, tested it two days after Rainey’s death and found it to be 160 degrees, far greater than the 120-degree limit set by the state.
The investigators found the inmates not to be credible, citing “inconsistencies” in their stories. However when similar inconsistencies were noted with the staffers, they found that there was a “general agreement on a core set of salient facts.” Almost as if they had gotten “their stories straight.” In 2015, a series of reports by Julie K. Brown, the reporter cited above, detailed abuses at Miami prisons that led to legislative action, firings, and policy changes in the prison.
A profile in The New Yorker from May of 2016 followed Harriet Kryzkowski, a former psychiatric technician in the prison who tried to blow the whistle on prisoner abuses. She had raised concerns about denial of food, recreational time, and simple amenties to inmates. When she heard of Rainey’s offense (he defecated in his cell), she was relieved the guards were to going to “give him a shower” because “people feel good after a shower, so maybe he will calm down.”
When she learned of his death she was horrified to learn that it was common practice and that this death would be covered up. When she tried to not let it rest, she was harassed until she quit, ultimately ending up in therapy herself.
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