MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In the wake of a death of Miami-Dade mentally ill inmate who died after being left in a scalding hot shower at the Dade Correctional Institution, the state’s Department of Corrections is set to announce new reforms to protect those in the custody of the state.
On Wednesday, DOC chief Mike Crews outlined their plans during a news conference at the Everglades Correctional Institution.
“We are working diligently to fix the problems we have already identified,” said Crews.”We have nothing to hide and if we find or identify bad seeds in our agency, they will have to find somewhere else to go. They will not dictate where we are going as an agency.”
Department of Corrections employs more than 22,0000 people and incarcerate more than 100,000 inmates so the DOC Secretary says it’s a big and challenging job but it’s not an excuse to ever abuse or mistreat inmates.
Among the policies the department will implement will be specialized reentry centers for inmates who suffer from mental illness, expand intervention training for corrections officers “so they don’t unintentionally escalate an incident or hurt an individual,” and create a “transparency database” for disseminating information on inmates who die in the custody of the department, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
“That we are transparent, we have nothing to hide and if we find, or we identify bad seeds in our agency, they’re going to have to find somewhere else to go. They are not going to dictate where we are going to go as an agency. They are not going to represent the rest of our hardworking staff in this agency and independent investigations, I think, go a long way in helping move that transparency forward,” said Crews.
Darren Rainy, 50, died on the night of June 23rd, 2012 after being left in the small shower stall for almost two hours. While the guards who placed him there, Cornelius Thompson and Roland Clarke, claimed they checked on him “periodically,” according to the Miami Herald, other inmates said the guards turned up the temperature as far as they could and walked away as he screamed in pain. They reportedly did it, according to witnesses, because Rainey had defecated in his cell and smeared feces all over himself.
Neither Thompson and Clarke are currently with the department.
Thompson left to take a job with the federal prison system and Roland Clarke resigned July 3rd. The warden of the institution, Jerry Cummings, was fired.
According to emails sent days and weeks after Rainey’s death, Cumming was called to the scene the night he died and that top officials with the Department of Corrections were briefed.
Interestingly, there were no emails from Cummings to any of his command staff which asked questions about what happened the night Rainey died nor were there any emails from Cumming to his bosses concerning the death, according to the Miami Herald.
In the emails, Cumming chastised staffers who talked about the grizzly incident.
“We do not know what the cause of death is for (inmate) Rainey,” wrote Cumming.
Cummings urged them to wait for the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report before they make any official statements.
But there would be no real investigation for nearly two years until a Miami Herald expose on Rainey’s death. During the course of the investigation, critical evidence seemingly disappeared. For example, the Depart of Correction’s Inspector General’s report cites a malfunction in the facility’s surveillance system “causing damage to the disc and the video could not be viewed.”
There is no further mention of video in the report.
To date, Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Bruce Hyma has yet to release that autopsy report or told Rainey’s family how he died. The ME is apparently waiting for the police to finish their investigation.
The American Civil Liberties Union has written Attorney General Eric Holder saying “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.”
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.
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