The Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews, and Wexford Health Systems ignored the widespread torture and abuse that mentally ill inmates have suffered for years at Dade Correctional Institution, a civil lawsuit alleges.
Disability Rights Florida, a nonprofit mental health advocacy group, is seeking an injunction to force immediate reforms and investigations into some of the more egregious complaints that it says Crews and others have ignored for more than three years.
Crews, his department, and Wexford, which provides health services to prisoners, “have permitted people with mental illness who were and currently are housed in the in-patient mental health unit at Dade CI to be subjected to abuse and discrimination by correctional officers to such an extent that at least two persons with mental illness have died within the past two years,” the suit, being filed Tuesday, alleges.
One of those who died is Darren Rainey, a 50-year-old inmate who was given a “shower treatment,” by corrections officers on June 23, 2012, allegedly as punishment for acting out and defecating on the floor of his cell. Rainey’s mental state had deteriorated so badly from the abuse inflicted by corrections officers that he became agitated and delusional, according to the lawsuit, prepared by Peter P. Sleasman, lawyer for the Florida Institutional Legal Services Project, along with prominent legal firm Holland and Knight.
Photo: Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews provides information about his visit to Dade Correctional Institution to conduct a full assessment on the 2012 death related to Darren Rainey, and discuss his meeting with Miami-Dade police officials at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida City on Thursday, July 10, 2014. AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD STAFF