MIAMI (CBS4) – Four current and former Miami-Dade corrections officers took to the streets Monday to protest conditions at the county’s main jail – The Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Facility.
CBS4 Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen has reported a number of times on the deplorable conditions on the facility’s ninth floor where inmates with the most severe mental illnesses are housed.
The corrections officers say the issues range from intimidation and retaliation to physical problems including overflowing sewage lines and rat infestations. When combined, the problems put everyone at risk, according the protestors.
“The employees who have to work in this system 24/7 and obviously the inmates, they are dying, we know they are dying,” said retired corrections officer Walter Clark.
“We have to be concerned with the folks who can’t help themselves, that’s why we are out here, that’s part of why we are out here today. It’s not just about the inmate population, but the staff alike,” said corrections officer Cory Barney.
The men said the poor conditions represent a failed system countywide.
“Every day we get employees calling from the jail saying they can’t even sit down and eat because the rats are falling from the ceiling. We took a picture of a rat laying next to a 20 ounce soda bottle, the rat was bigger than the bottle,” said corrections officer Alphonso Bruton.
County Commissioner Sally Heyman sent notice to the mayor’s office last week requesting a ‘county watch’ which calls for the mayor to get directly involved with the department of corrections operations.