The investigation found that the jail does not provide proper medical care, failing to provide proper screenings and health assessments, and even botching the dosages of medicine handed out on a daily basis.
Since 2008, at least five inmates have died after jailers failed to treat them as they withdrew from drugs or alcohol, the report noted. Also, “the jail does not track prisoners with chronic illness nor monitor their conditions,” the report said, noting patients with HIV, diabetes and hypertension and histories of seizures go unmonitored or untreated.
Miami-Dade Corrections Director Tim Ryan has said the department is making changes and complying with the federal recommendations.
The county has also agreed to build a mental-health treatment facility for inmates, a project championed by Leifman for years. The facility is estimated to cost between $12 million and $16 million, plus $29 million a year to operate.
Last month, a security gaffe caused the cell doors of a maximum security wing of the county’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center to open suddenly. In an inmate scuffle that ensued, one man hurled himself off the second-story of the wing, severely injuring his legs.
The state’s health department also recently investigated conditions in the Miami-Dade County Jail after employees complained about rats in the aging building.
Complaints about conditions at Miami-Dade jails have been around since the mid-1970s, when inmates filed suit over overcrowding at the main jail, known as the Pretrial Detention Center, at 1321 NW 13th St.
In 1984, a federal judge declared the conditions unconstitutional. The lawsuit was settled after 25 years and some improvements.
Still, systemwide problems continue. The escape of a serial rapist from Turner Guilford Knight in December 2005 prompted the creation of another task force, which reported outdated facilities, poor training, lax security, too many job vacancies and a ballooning population of mentally ill inmates.
Twice, in 2004 and 2008, Miami-Dade grand juries blasted deplorable conditions at county jails.