The visit by the head of Florida's prison system to the Dade Correctional Institution on Thursday produced more than a show of interest in the suspicious death of an inmate more than two years ago. It also led to an unexpected revelation: the suspicious death of another inmate the day before.
Department of Corrections Secretary Michaal Crews announced in a news release late Friday that he had suspended deputy warden Royce Dykes, who has now officially retired from government, because he and Warden Jerry Cummings had concealed Thursday’s prison death, which Crews said occurred in the prison’s infirmary, allegedly related to a fall.
Crews on Thursday had announced the suspension of Cummings amid a firestorm over the 2010 death of mentally ill inmate Darren Rainey in June 2012. Raineys' body was found two hours after guards placed him in a scalding shower, allegedly as punishment for defecating in his cell.
Miami-Dade police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the death of the second, unnamed, inmate, the release said.
“It is astonishing that the same day I was visiting Dade Correctional another inmate was reported dead,” Crews said in the statement released late Friday. "The fact that I did not have the full picture of this recent inmate death at the time of my visit to the facility is simply alarming."
Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Bruce Hyma told DOC officials on Friday that the inmate who died a day earlier apparently died of natural causes, Crews said in the release on Friday night. More by Julie K. Brown here.
Here's Crews' statement:
Just a day after visiting Dade Correctional Institution, Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is more outraged to learn of inconsistent reporting and a failure to fully inform on the events surrounding an inmate death that occurred the same day as his visit.
Secretary Crews said, “It is astonishing that the same day I was visiting Dade Correctional, another inmate was reported dead in a manner we now learn is the subject of an ongoing FDLE investigation due to conflicting information and reports.
"At 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, I was notified that an inmate had died while “housed in [the] infirmary.” Late in the evening, I received word that the circumstances surrounding his death were the subject of an FDLE investigation related to reports of a possible fall while in the infirmary.
"The fact that I did not have the full picture of this recent inmate death at the time of my visit to the facility is simply alarming. It was both Warden Jerry Cummings’ and Deputy Warden Royce Dyke’s responsibility to notify us of every available detail related to the death – and they failed to do so. As of yesterday, Cummings was placed on administrative leave, and today, Dykes officially retired from state government – and their failure to fully inform me of the circumstances around this death is outrageous. We will use this as a clear example of the issues that need to be fixed at the Department.”
The Department of Corrections is conducting a full review surrounding the passing of an inmate at Dade Correctional Institution that occurred on July 10. The review is being conducted in cooperation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and with the assistance of the Miami-Dade Police Department. The preliminary report of the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner indicates the inmate died as a result of natural causes.