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Death of Florida Inmate Highlights Abuse and Injury Incidents in Prisons


A report released by Prosecutors in Miami-Dade County on March 17th concerning the suspicious circumstances surrounding one inmate’s physical injuries and death in the Dade Correctional Institute has many Floridians concerned about the abuse of prisoners that has been documented (and litigated over) in the state. The inmate—Darren Rainey—died after corrections officers locked him in a very hot shower for two hours.

While the state’s medical examiner technically concluded that the Rainey died due to his schizophrenia, heart disease, and being confined in the shower, others are disputing these findings, pointing out that Rainey’s skin appeared to be peeled and red, and that the corrections officers involved cranked the water to 180 degrees and proceeded to taunt and laugh at Rainey as he screamed and begged to be released out of the shower. He then collapsed and died.

Suspicious Circumstances

Forensic pathologists are also pointing out that no one dies from schizophrenia and Rainey’s skin condition can only be caused by hot water trauma, indicating that some negligence—even intentional harm—was inflicted on Rainey. In addition, they are also questioning why it took more than three years for the state’s autopsy report to be completed.

Previous Lawsuit & Settlement

In 2014 – 2015, the Herald published an investigative series on deadly abuse in Florida’s prisons, investigations that described horrifying abuses such as guards allegedly using scalding showers and other sadistic forms of discipline to punish and humiliate inmates in the prison’s psychiatric ward. One prisoner was even gassed to death in a concrete cell while begging for medical attention.

The investigation led to a lawsuit filed by a state advocacy group against the Florida Department of Corrections, and eventually resulted in a significant settlement in the case. As a result of that settlement, the state of Florida was required to overhaul the way it treats inmates with mental disorders at Dade Correctional Institution specifically, as it houses the largest mental health facility in the entire state prison system.

Just last year, a New Yorker article reported that, between 1996 and 2014, the number of Florida prisoners with mental conditions increased by 150 percent, indicating that prisons have become the mental institutions for the state, replacing treatment with punishment for being mentally ill.

Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Florida Citizens

Injuries caused by the negligent, reckless or even intentional misconduct of another are an injustice, whether you are in a prison, institution, or any other facility.

Living with the aftermath of such an injury (and sometimes death) can be painful and disheartening, both for you and your family. Justice mandates that the injured party be compensated by the person and/or institution responsible for causing the injury or death, however, navigating the system and achieving justice can be extremely difficult without the help of experienced personal injury attorneys.

At Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A., we are personal injury attorneys committed to helping all of Florida’s citizens to obtain justice in response to their injuries or deaths. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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