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Ali Adair @AliAdair22
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Continuing my thread from yesterday...
When Rick Scott became Governor in January of 2010, he began a campaign to privatize 30 South Florida prisons and hired Edwin Buss as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections.
“It was one of the most aggressive private prison expansions in the history of the United states, maybe the most aggressive,” Edwin Buss said. While governor, Rick Scott has been through 5 Secretaries of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC).
Rick Scott also wanted to privatize the health care services of inmates. He hired Elizabeth Gondles to oversee it, but she had to resign over a conflict of interest: her husband was married to the head of the only organization that accredits prison medical services in the nation.
In 2011, Rick Scott’s admin awarded Corizon Health—the country’s largest prison health care provider—a $1.2 billion contract in 2011. Between 2008-2013, Corizon Health was sued 660 times for malpractice. In 2014, the amount of deaths in the state's prison reached a 10-yr high.
In 2014, 1,800 current and former Florida prison inmates who were denied medical care for hernias divided $1.7 million in damages from a class action suit against Corizon. Yet Rick Scott did not replace Corizon until 2016.…
Secretary of FDOC Buss only lasted eight months and was forced out over privatization issues. Kenneth S. Tucker, then served for just over a year. Finally, Mike Crews was named in December of 2012 and lasted nearly 3 tumultuous years on the job.…
In 2014-2015, The Miami Herald came out with an ongoing series of articles about violent, suspicious deaths in #Florida prisons. @MiamiHerald reporter Julie K. Brown has since won an RFK Journalism Award for her outstanding work.
The scandal only got worse as more violence was exposed. Equally important, attempts to cover up the scandals were uncovered as well. Julie K. Brown's award-winning series:…
One of the first deaths that got went public, was Ricky Martin. Martin was beaten by a fellow inmate as officers passed by his cell. He was bludgeoned savagely and his skull was smashed while his hands and feet were tied with cloth. He was also raped.
He was denied protection from his cellmate. Martin’s father-in-law Russ Sharbaugh said “My suspicion is they put him in there to teach him a lesson, but I can’t prove it.” Guards also ignored his cries—and the pleas from nearby prisoners—for help.
To compound matters, Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola “pulled the plug” on him without his wife’s permission. During his trial, Ricky Martin’s killer, wrote to the judge...……
"It’s no military secret that I have been one of the most vicious and violent prisoners in the entire state of Florida.” Shawn Rogers asked to be put to death. He is currently on death row.
But the most publicized case—mainly because of its gruesome savagery—was the murder of schizophrenic Darren Rainey, who was 50 years old at the time.…
Dade Correctional Institution guards put him in a small confined shower stall (set up for this explicit purpose) and turned up the heat on the water from another room while Rainey was literally scalded to death. Somehow the 911 tape was lost.
Six years after his death in 2012, his family settled a lawsuit against the State of #Florida for $4.5 million. His death was ignored by authorities until the Miami Herald wrote about it in a 3-part investigation in 2014.
The next case that was uncovered was Frank Smith, age 44, who according to a civil rights lawsuit filed on his behalf, was badly injured in 2012 during a transport from Shands Hospital in Gainesville to the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida.
The suit also alleged that he was beaten until he was left paralyzed, then died several months later from massive head trauma. That investigation also revealed guards had used excessive force against five other prisoners.…
But the inspector general’s office found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and no one has been charged in Frank Smith's death.
Another wrongful death suit was filed against the Charlotte Correctional Institute, regarding the death of Matthew Walker, 46, who was killed on April 11, 2014 during a clash with officers, who woke him up in the middle of the night to pick up a cup & a magazine he had left out.
Evidence showed that when he refused, the officers restrained him, they continued to beat him with radios and stomped on his head with their boots until his throat was crushed and he couldn’t breathe. He died due to a crushed larynx that led to asphyxiation.
A county grand jury found that his death, which was ruled a homicide, was “tragic, senseless and avoidable.” No guards faced criminal charges. After Walker’s death, FDOC ordered the firing of 9 correctional officers for “inappropriate use of force” in connection with his death.
Eight of the nine were reinstated.…
The next month, May of 2014, Damian Foster was seen by a nurse at Charlotte Correctional Institution trying to hang himself. He stopped and she ordered him medically evacuated while he was bleeding from a deep cut on his bottom lip.
Five people had to physically remove him and he was given an injection of Ativan by a nurse in an effort to calm him down. He was still spitting and aspirating blood so the guards administered a cloth spit mask over his mouth.
Foster suffocated after swallowing his own blood.…
On July 10, 2014, Mike Crews, who was then the Secretary of the FDOC, received a call from Rick Scott's chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, who told him: "we need you to take a bullet for the governor.''
After that, Mike Crews blew the whistle on a Justice Department investigation into a series of questionable prison deaths.
Crews also said that the FDOC budget had been cut so much that the institutions were becoming so deteriorated that their electrical, plumbing and security systems were constantly failing. They were driving buses that all had more than 300,000 miles on them.
Staffing levels were low, attacks on corrections officers had increased & they were losing control. Inmate deaths were rising & becoming public. In July of 2014, Secretary Crews fired the warden of the Dade Correctional Institution where Darren Rainey was viciously killed.
FDOC Secretary Mike Crews said he hoped the firing would “restore integrity” to the state’s prison system, hoping the action would “send a message.”
But on August 5, 2014, Jeremiah Tatum was gassed with noxious chemicals and subsequently attacked by guards as he was being escorted with his arms handcuffed behind his back and his legs shackled, according to the arrest affidavit.
The affidavits also said surveillance video showed that Tatum was slammed face first into the concrete floor by two guards, while one of them stomped on his legs. A third guard grabbed his head and pinned it to the ground.…
Five sergeants and a captain were fired and charged with gassing and beating Tatum, then lying about it. After he was arrested and out on bond, Captain James Kirkland committed suicide. Jeremiah Tatum is now serving time at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution.
On September 19, 2014 became known as “Friday Night Massacre” by correctional officers as a total of 32 guards were terminated by the FDOC. Eighteen of those were involved with Michael Walker’s death.
Five were fired for using excessive force in the August 2012 death of UCI prisoner Rudolf Rowe; also terminated was Lt. Rollin Austin for his role in Jordan-Aparo’s death.…
(Jordan Aparo was gassed to death with 600 grams of chemical agents—well over the lethal dose—and found with his mouth & nose pressed up in the crack at the bottom of the door, his entire body dusted with orange residue from the gas.
This death, however, occurred a few months before Rick Scott took office, but a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of his young daughter.)
The firings were meant to send guards a message. “I’ve made it clear that there is zero tolerance for corruption or abuse,” said then-FDOC Secretary Michael Crews. “We continue to root out any and all bad actors who do not live up to our expectations.”
But the killings continued. On October 1, 2014, Latandra Ellington, a mother of four, was killed. She was due to be released in seven months after serving a 22-month sentence for grand theft.
Ten days earlier she had written a letter to her aunt, claiming that a Lowell Correctional Institution officer (with a criminal arrest record) had repeatedly threatened to beat and kill her after she allegedly witnessed him having sex with another inmate.…
Ellington died of blunt force trauma and hemorrhaging to her body, probably from punches and kicks. The ACLU called for an investigation after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) found that there was no foul play. Her mother has filed a complaint with FDOC.
Rick Scott’s third Secretary of FDOC Mike Crews announced his retirement on November 24, 2014.…
More killings. Schitzophrenic prisoner Jason Rodriguez was found dead on April 5, 2016 in a protective custody cell at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City, FL.
He had been put in protective custody because his mother had called the prison, worried that her son’s life had been threatened. His mother alleges that he was not getting proper treatment for his mental illness.…
The investigation ruled his death a suicide, regardless of the fact that a corrections officer had suffered superficial stab wounds and a broken jaw a day earlier. Were the incidents related?…
In addition to violent deaths due to incidents between inmates and guards, an increasing number of Florida prisoners have also died due to inadequate medical care.
In 2014, the FDOC reported a record 346 prisoner deaths, most from “natural causes,” though 176 had no immediate cause of death listed and there were 15 homicides – three involving guards.
“These revelations that are coming out are not about incompetence,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. “They’re about guards killing people and public officials working feverishly to cover it up.”
George C. Mallinckrodt, a mental health counselor who worked at DCI from 2008-2011, said guards “taunted, abused, beat, and tortured chronically mentally ill inmates on a regular basis,” hoping to provoke a response that would justify the use of force.
Mallinckrodt, the former mental health counselor who lost his job at DCI after trying to expose abuses at that facility, wrote a book about his experiences with the FDOC, which was published in 2014 and appropriately titled "Getting Away with Murder."
Mallinckrodt summed up the issue when he said problems continue to occur in Florida prisons because the FDOC is “plagued by a deeply entrenched, multi-generational culture of corruption, retaliation, brutality and secrecy.”
According to FDOC statistical data, use of force incidents against prisoners increased over 90% from 2007 to 2012. In 2012, the department reported approximately 6,500 incidents involving use of force. Prisoner deaths grew from 249 in 2007 to 346 in 2014.
In short, 2011-present, represents the failure of the private state prisons in Florida. Not profitable. Poor conditions, mistreatment of prisoners…much of that mistreatment resulting in senseless deaths.…
2011-present also represents a plethora of ineptitude by Governor Rick Scott who is inadequately overseeing the Florida prison system. And lame, inadequate coverups.
#Florida! Vote @SenBillNelson for Senate in November.
Stay tuned for more Rick Scott scandals!
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