« Forty sheriffs, five of them Democrats, endorse Scott | Main | Layoffs, service cuts abound in Miami-Dade mayor's proposed county budget »

Former DOC chief McDonough rebukes Scott staff over prison allegations: 'Where is the outrage?'

Former Department of Corrections Chief James McDonough said Tuesday that events at his former agency "smacks of torture, sadism, murder, cover up, and ignoring of the facts." 

McDonough, the former drug czar and DOC secretary under Gov. Jeb Bush, was responding to a series of reports in the Miami Herald alleging the abusive deaths of inmates and cover-up at the agency. McDonough was tapped to head the prison department by Bush from 2006-2008 after Bush fired Secretary James Crosby, who was convicted for taking kickbacks. 

"I am revolted by what I am hearing, just as I am by what I am not hearing,'' said McDonough, a retired army colonel and Purple Heart recipient, in an email Tuesday to Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown. "The latter refers to the silence and lack of sense of outrage by Department officials, or for that matter, other officials.

"There is only so much that can be feigned as we 'wait for the conclusion of an official investigation','' he wrote. "These cases did not end tragically last week; they ended in horrific and suspicious deaths some years ago.  Where has the leadership been?"
For the last month, Brown has chronicled how an inmate was herded into a scorching hot shower and left until he collapsed and died, how another inmate was placed in solitary confinement and gassed multiple times by guards after he had begged to be taken to the hospital for a worsening medical condition, and how officials covered up the deaths once they were investigated.
DOC officials who discovered the death of inmate Randall Jordan-Aparo at Franklin Correctional Institution said the prison’s medical staff, corrections officers and supervisors later conspired to fabricate reports and lie to law enforcement about the events of the inmate’s death.
Four of those investigators complained to DOC officials and Gov. Rick Scott's inspector general Melinda Miguel but, when nothing was done, they filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit on Monday -- against the governor, Miguel and the agency. The lawsuit alleges they have been retaliated against. 
"The IG whistle blower complaint has been filed by pros,'' McDonough continued. "They surely complained within the system as the cases were originally being investigated, and they would have run those complaints up the chain of command.  The names I see among them are mature, responsible, and conscientious.  They understand the parameters of use of force, its necessity, and its limits.   Whistle blowing would have been the last option exercised.  They must have been both frustrated and outraged at the inhumanity. 
"Where is the outrage from those in charge, within the department and beyond?," he asked.
DOC Secretary Michael Crews issued a statement on Tuesday  after the Miami Herald reported on the whistleblower lawsuit. He said the matter is being investigated by DOC and that "any individuals within its Department accountable if they are found of any wrongdoing."


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Can't take anymore

Since his first day in office, Rick Scott has always followed the Sgt. Schultz defense when his incompetence and venality are exposed. "I know nothing" sounds a lot better in a TV news byte than "I refuse to answer under my 5th Amendment rights" so he's smarter than he used to be. All his underlings know their main job is to cover his ass or face extreme consequences. I bet that DOC IG even got a raise for outstanding job performance last year.


With an incompetent Inspector General who needs a cover-up?

Disgruntled Employee

Rick Scott should be in use, not in the Gov. Mansion.

Maria Luisa Castellanos

It's an outrage that DOC Secretary Michael Crews said, "any individuals within its Department accountable if they are found of any wrongdoing."

It's it obvious that there was wrongdoing and someone needs to be held accountable right away!

Arnold Ziffell


linda reade

People, wake up, this is supposed to be America, not a third world country, where people who are prisoned are put to death.

Suwannee C.I. has had 12 such deaths, all by the hands of the guards. Who have not been charged, and a warden who has done nothing to insure the safety of the inmates.

How would I know? unfortunatly my son has just been caught up in the latest investigation by the FBI, who questioned at least 13 or more inmates, my son included.
Bottom line my son was not given Whistle blowing status, nethier were the other inmates as well. Instead they were sent to other institutions, where all their rights have been stripped from them.
Denied medical, not given their medicine, and who knows what else.
As a parent I sit in limbo, on the edge of my seat wondering if and when this new location my son was sent to will retaliate and possible kill him.

If it has taken two years and still no action was taken concerning the deaths of inmates, what will it take before elected officials, step up to the plate, and make sure the state of FLORIDA, and the guards who are KILLING inmates are held accountable.

Bonnie Zerbe

You have every right to worry them killed my blind and deaf son he was beaten raped by Officer Keith and Hess and the goon squad shipped to Suwannee and then beaten some more and shipped to Santa Rosa he was left in a cell to die and he did he was thirty seven yeard old when he was taken to a hospital this was what he looked like a burn vistim the skin was motted off his face hands and arms he was dehydrated,jaundice,edema, unconous eye rolled back in his head shallow breathing and the medical waited over hour to call ambulance and sign DC form they did not render treatment {none}. my son and other love ones do not deserve to die by the officers by the way Officer Keith violates DOC rules by stealing my sons cross and he get nothing my son get the death sentence by DOC. The reason this is not important it has not happened to there love one yet but it will and then lets see how quick they are given to the questions they will not answer to us.
Sad and heart broken family of a blind and deaf disabled raped and killed by officers

The comments to this entry are closed.