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Florida prison officials announce 'system-wide' reforms after gruesome deaths

Florida’s Department of Corrections, embarrassed by reports of a mentally ill inmate killed by guards — allegedly when they locked him in a brutally hot shower and left him — says it is instituting a series of system-wide reforms.

The measures will be unveiled Wednesday morning at a news conference at Everglades Correctional Institution.

“Stories report we have fallen short in specific instances with regard to facility leadership, safety, security, training and services for mentally ill inmates,” said Mike Crews, secretary of the department. “We’re fixing the problems that have been identified and as we identify new issues, we will fix those too. Our department should be held to the highest standards, and I have zero tolerance for anything less.”

Two years ago in June, 50-year-old Darren Rainey was marched into a locked, closet-like shower and left there for as long as two hours, until he collapsed and died. The shower was used on several occasions as a form of punishment for mentally ill inmates, fellow inmates have told the Herald. Story by Julie K. Brown here.