June 23 marked the third anniversary of the death of Darren Rainey, a mentally ill African-American man who was tortured to death at Dade Correctional Institution (DCI) by being placed in a locked 180-degree shower until skin was sloughing from his body.
Neither the Florida Department of Corrections nor Miami-Dade Police properly investigated this crime. Only because fellow DCI prisoner Harold Hempstead went to the Herald was this unconscionable death made known.
Stop Prison Abuse Now, a coalition of local advocacy groups and citizens dedicated to prison reform, is shocked that not one person has yet been criminally charged. It’s long past time for the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner to release its autopsy findings, and for the state attorney’s office to finish its investigation and bring charges against those responsible. As well, we urge the U.S. Department of Justice to widen its investigation of Rainey’s death to include prison conditions in Florida, especially those for the mentally ill.
The dignity of Rainey, his family and our community demands a standard of justice of which we must not be ashamed.
Steven Wetstein, Stop Prison Abuse Now, Miami