ACLU, FJI, and Others Urge Department of Justice to Investigate Grisly Death of Incarcerated Man with Mental Illness

The ACLU of Florida, the Florida Justice Institute, and other civil rights groups have sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Department of Justice to initiate an investigation of the death of Darren Rainey while in custody at Dade Correctional Institution, and, more broadly, the treatment of mentally ill inmates in Florida correctional facilities.

The Miami Herald has reported that Darren Rainey, a 50-year-old incarcerated man with mental illness, was taken by guards from his cell and placed in a scalding hot shower with the water turned on full blast.  He died from this abuse, which caused pieces of his skin to melt from his body.  This occurred two years ago, yet the prison’s Inspector General and the Miami-Dade Police simply ended their investigations without reaching any conclusions.  The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner has yet to issue autopsy findings, claiming that they need to results of the police investigation.

Hopefully, this will be a first step toward reforming the way incarcerated people with mental illnesses are treated, and will bring justice for Darren Rainey.

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Two lawsuits have been brought by the Florida Institutional Legal Services Project, another organization that does prison litigation in Florida, related to these allegations.  One is on behalf of Darren Rainey’s family, and another seeks to address the culture of abuse toward incarcerated people with mental illness at Dade Correctional Institution.

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