PHOTOS and REPORTBACKS from Rally Against the Torture of Prisoners

Please don’t wait to speak up just by “sharing” until you personally know someone that the US Department of Justice is allowing to be tortured.

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

On February 1, 2016, people from all over California gathered in Sacramento at the headquarters of the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCr) to demand an end to the dangerous and deliberate sleep deprivation being inflicted on the people in solitary in Pelican Bay State Prison SHU, under the guise of “welfare checks”.

Before the Rally, more than 15 formerly incarcerated people, family members, pen pals, and other activists visited the offices of Loni Hancock (chair of the CA Senate Public Safety Senate Committee), Bill Quirk (chair of the CA Assembly Public Safety Committee), and reps from various districts to demand the immediate suspension of the sleep deprivation “welfare checks” in the Pelican Bay SHU.  Sleep Deprivation Is Torture.

Reportbacks below are from Martha Esquivel of San Diego, CA and James Decker of Eureka, CA.
Photos are from Liberated Lens Collective, Lucas Guilkey, James Decker, and Urszula Frydman.

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.@POTUS: Direct @TheJusticeDept to take over @FL_Corrections

An M.E. casts doubt on Rainey’s ‘accidental’ death

In his 40 years overseeing inmate death cases in New York’s prisons, Dr. Michael Baden says he has rarely seen a case as outrageous as Darren Rainey’s.

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While it’s of some comfort that Dr. Baden finds the ruling of accidental death in Darren Rainey’s case outrageous, I don’t want to read any more comments about Darren’s horrific scalding homicide or the make-believe investigation that’s supposedly been ongoing since June of 2012. The preliminary autopsy report is out there on on the Internet (and provided below), and it reads as though written by a gossipy fourth grader.
 
The preliminary autopsy report bears two dates. The one in 2012 is appropriate; the one in 2014 is not. Absent is what “primary photographer” Cynthia Colt saw through her lens. Absent is Darren’s body actual temperature, substituted with the unacceptable description that his body was “very warm.” Absent is an agonizingly thorough description of Darren’s physical condition, substituted with the simpleton, non-medical observation that “visible trauma was noticed throughout the decedent’s body.” Absent is the date that Darren’s body was released to Cremations America LLC.
 
Present is M.E. Emma O. Lew’s elaborations on Darren’s former abuse of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs – although all three are common to schizophrenics – and the information that Rainey’s daughter was illegitimate, although Hollywood is full of “stars” whose children are illegitimate. Present, too, is unverifiable hyperbole about the events at Dade Correctional Institution that led to Darren’s death.
That Darren was allergic to Thorazine was extraneous; what psychotropic drugs Darren wasn’t allergic that Corizon had prescribed was not. They apparently weren’t in Darren’s system, and could have precipitated the alleged incident of getting feces on himself and surfaces in his cell. Lew’s assertion that Darren was “non-compliant with his psychotropic medications” is not verifiable, even if it was contained in Darren’s medical records … it’s common knowledge to those familiar with Florida’s ridiculously deadly lockups that a good number of corrections personnel feel that making sure that inmates receive their prescribed drugs is entirely optional, even if exercising the option not to provide prescribed drugs results in deadly asthma attacks, seizures, diabetic comas, psychiatric melt-downs, heart failure, renal failure … you name it. It’s also common knowledge that many Corizon employees aren’t particularly concerned about those they’re paid to provide medical care to … “Caged Crusader” Harold Hempstead asserts that the shower where Darren Rainey died had previously been used to torture other inmates, which no one from Corizon reported.
Los Angeles County had its jails taken over by the Department of Justice, and we Floridians deserve the same protections as Californians. President Barack Obama must either ensure that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch takes over our prisons (yet again), or tenders her resignation. Florida lockups were already in unchecked free-fall when Darren Rainey was killed in 2012, and patterns of on-the-job behavior in the same Dade Correctional Institution unit drove Richard Mair to suicide in 2013. The suspicious deaths at Dade CI spiked in 2015, and unless President Obama acts rapidly, there’s no reason to hope that 2016 will be any less deadly … in any Florida lockup.

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“Mixed reviews” of @FL_Corrections’ secretary? Hardly.

Amid Some Mixed Reviews, Second Senate Panel Quickly Confirms Prison Chief Jones

In the last few seconds of the committee, one correctional officer tried to address lawmakers about what she called the “ticking time bombs” within the department. But, there was no time.

So, with the backing of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association as well as the Florida Smart Justice Alliance, all five members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted to confirm her.

According to Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker)—the panel’s chair—Jones’ ultimate confirmation hearing will be in the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. And, he agreed to speak one-on-one with the correctional officer, after the meeting to hear her concerns.

via http://news.wfsu.org/post/amid-some-mixed-reviews-second-senate-panel-quickly-confirms-prison-chief-jones

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Despite WFSU’s feigned bewilderment, Governor Rick Scott’s appointing Julie Jones as interim secretary of Florida corrections was another of his declarations of ongoing devotion to corrupt cronyism, per the unresolved controversies surrounding Jones’ previous state employ, i.e. “Facebook for Cops.” Those paying serious attention to Jones’ interim leadership of Florida corrections additionally knows this much about the statements quoted above:

  1. The confirmation of Julie Jones to head Florida corrections will perpetuate her “happy talk” press releases that help maintain an astonishing number of cover-ups of violent deaths and deaths by medical negligence, simultaneously (which aren’t abating in number).
  2. The corrections officer who wasn’t allowed to address any “ticking time bombs” before the senate can expect to be ostracized, demoted, threatened, etc. … very, very soon. And she can’t expect any help from anyone, even her union.
  3. The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association is the core of Florida’s congealed corruption, jam-packed with jackals like Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Phil Archer, Bruce Colton, Jeff Ashton, R. J. Larizza, etc.
  4. The President and CEO of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance sits on the board of the Innocence Project of Florida, an organization that is far, far better at looking good than doing good, evidenced not only by the continued confinement of Gary Bennett and others, but by the conflicted board chairmanship by former FBI agent Robert Cromwell and conflicted board membership of former American Bar Association Presient Talbot “Sandy” D’Almerberte. The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Associations could not stay continuously corrupt – decade after decade – without the protection of the FBI (who want “scent evidence” victims like Gary Bennett to remain framed) and the American Bar Association (likewise).
  5. Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) may well listen to the senate-silenced corrections officer about her “ticking time bombs” concerns. He may even reiterate her concerns on the senate floor or in the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee (on which “my” sold-out senator, Joe Negron, sits). But – when push comes to shove – Evers won’t remember much, or do much. Ask Darren Rainey’s family how much Evers has aided them in achieving justice for Darren’s June 23, 2012 scalding death by Dade Correctional Institution officers, which is belatedly being ruled accidental THIS YEAR Just wait until y’all see the prosy, preliminary medical examiners report. (Yes, I do have a copy. These things have a habit of getting round, despite the worst efforts of the likes of Katherine Fernandez Rundle.)

It is the relentless persistence of “Caged Crusader” Harold Hempstead alone that keeps hope alive for the families of inmates like Darren Rainey who died too young, under cruel and unusual circumstances, and for inmates who are struggling to survive while being denied food and/or adequate medical care. Harold got Darren Rainey’s hideous scalding death into the news, and put so much detailed information in the Department of Justice’s hands that it’s crystal clear that Florida’s deadly prisons are as okay with Loretta Lynch as they were with Eric Holder. Relief and redress are for other states, like California … Los Angeles County jails were taken over by the Justice Department last year, while the toll of dead Florida inmates rose and rose.

Harold was not shy about sharing his communications to the DoJ. I have copies, so do a number of civil rights groups, so do a number of journalists. I’ve published one; I have no knowledge of anyone else publishing any of them.

For maliciously made up reasons, Harold was sentenced to more time than Bernie Madoff, and could be spending all his time fighting for his freedom, ignoring the plight of those like Darren Rainey. Similarly, I could use all the information I’ve gleaned about Brevard County’s corrupt public servants to extricate only myself from its darkness, rather than try to free its many incarcerated innocents, like Gary Bennett, Jeff Abramowsi, Crosley ‘Papa’ Green, etc.

Bernie Madoff, serving 150 years, justly

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Harold Hempstead, serving 165 years, unjustly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few people have the time – or the stomach – for fighting like Harold and I do. (Thank goodness his sister supports and encourages both of us!) But nearly everyone has a spare minute to sign a petition. Please sign the one below. Thank you.

https://www.change.org/p/investigate-the-florida-department-of-corrections-346-inmate-deaths-in-one-year-inexcusable?recruiter=423668&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

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#LoveFL’s mysterious new prison healthcare provider

Centurion Selected To Provide Comprehensive Correctional Healthcare In Florida

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) today announced that Centurion of Florida, LLC (“Centurion”), a joint venture between Centene Corporation and MHM Services, Inc., has reached a formal agreement to provide correctional healthcare services for the Florida Department of Corrections in Regions 1, 2 and 3.

via http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2016/02/01/centurion-selected-to-provide-comprehensive-correctional-healthcare-in-florida.html

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Per available official documents, Floridians have likely just been subjected to another smoke’n’mirrors sellout, which our legislature and governor specialize in (as almost simultaneously demonstrated by cementing Julie Jones’ appointment as Florida corrections secretary, despite her ability to generate only spin, not change, while Florida prisons remain quite deadly).

The documents from Sunbiz indicate that Centurion of Florida LLC has no relationship with Centene and/or MHM Services, Inc, despite the article quoted above. The documents  instead indicate that Centurion of Florida has a relationship with C T Corporation System and The Corporation Company. Lest you think the documents aren’t related – because of the convoluted references – please note the address that appears on both the five-page Centurion of Florida LLC registration and C T Corporation’s one-page 2015 Foreign Profit Corporation Annual Report: 1200 South Pine Island Road, Plantation, Florida.

I’ve not seen a corporation described as Foreign Profit on Sunbiz before. But I see something new here in the Sunshine State almost every day, without trying, mostly about congealed corruption and corpses of Floridians who were too young to die.

I’m a disabled decorator, not Florida’s corrections secretary (nor a legislator, nor a reporter). It’s not my job to ferret out Centene’s dirty laundry. So I’ll stop here, with this securities fraud tidbit, and leave it to my fellow Floridians to spread the word.

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So, Another Inmate Died at Charlotte Correctional Institute

At the rate that Florida inmates are dying under suspicious circumstances, it won’t be long before every Floridian knows of someone whose death personally affects their ability to secure justice for themselves … like Richard Mair‘s suicide at Dade Correctional Institution affects mine, while simultaneously keeping innocent Jeff Abramowski incarcerated. Under similarly dire circumstances, the Department of Justice once took control of Florida prisons, and under similarly dire circumstances, the Department of Justice took over Los Angeles County jails last year.

crimcourts : A Criminal Law Blog

reginald davis.jpg Reginald Davis

While it hasn’t made a lot of local news, there has been a rash of inmate deaths, many from non-natural causes. This past week, Reginald Davis passed away, authorities indicate he killed himself. This might not be noteworthy, except for the string of deaths at Charlotte Correctional Institute, just south of Punta Gorda. As of August, 2015, there were five inmate death investigations ongoing. That represents at least the seventh criminal investigation at CCI in recent years. One that did end in prosecution was the brutal beating and eye-gouging of an inmate that resulted in a federal conviction for a guard, William Wilson, a few years ago. Sadly, that incident made national news, not for the crime, but because the whistle-blower guard who reported it was framed and then fired after he testified for the government after the attack. He sued, and reached a settlement for $135,000.

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Feb 1st: RALLY Against the Torture of Prisoners

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

2016- PHSS- End Sleep Deprivation Rally- Feb 1 Rally Against the Torture of Prisoners Feb 1, 2016

As of February 1st, it will be 181 days that the men in Pelican Bay SHU have been tortured by sleep deprivation. For six months the men have been awakened every 30 minutes, 48 times per day, due to so-called “security/welfare checks” by guards.

“…they’re killing us with these Guard One/Welfare Checks…I don’t know what to do? We really are suffering right now and I can assure you that this is worse than the hunger strikes.” PB SHU prisoner Oct. 2015

Join us in Sacramento on February 1st, 2016 at 1:00 pm to rally against the torture of prisoners!

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) claims these ‘checks’ will prevent suicide. Instead, these checks are causing serious psychological and physical harm. John R. Martinez, in solitary for 15 years, stated that the checks “are counter-productive to their so called intended…

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@FLGovScott and @onetoughnerd love redaction, not rights

Offender Picture

Darren Rainey – accidental death by shower on June 23, 2012 at Dade Correctional Institution

Inmate locked in scalding shower died ‘by accident’, medical examiner says

Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said it “defies belief” that Rainey, who was serving a two-year sentence for cocaine possession, and who had been locked in the shower after he defecated in his cell, died by accident.

“To accept the medical examiner’s conclusion you have to believe that he accidentally locked himself in a shower, then turned up the water temperature to 180 degrees, accidentally boiled himself to death and all the while he was screaming for help,” he told the Guardian.

via http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/26/miami-dade-prisoner-shower-death-ruled-accident-darren-rainey

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Offender Picture

Darrell Whitfield – accidental death by locker on July 19, 2012 at Dade Correctional Institution

Less than a month after Darren Rainey accidentally scalded himself to death at Dade Correctional Institution, 55-year-old Darrel Whitfield died at Dade via some accidental- yet-confidential issue with a locker, per the ridiculously redacted report below.

Inanimate objects seem to be quite the problem at Dade.

Few of the deaths at Dade since Darren Rainey’s have been explained coherently or ethically, if at all (see concluding document) … a startling number of deaths remain under investigation, and some – like Richard Mair’s suicide – were flat out cover-ups of the intolerable and relentless guard-on-inmate abuses Mair described so well in a grievance report and his suicide note.

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s complete contentment with the mounting number of dead inmates is – of course – little different from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s knowingly allowing the residents of Flint, primarily black and poor, to be poisoned with lead-laden tap water.

The mainstream media in Florida isn’t taking a hard look at any of Rick Scott’s malevolent behaviors, any more than the mainstream media in Michigan is taking a hard look at Rick Snyder’s. That’s why I’m grateful that the article I quoted above is from The Guardian, a UK-based newspaper.

The Guardian has also recently reported on Rick Snyder. They pointed out that he, too, is relying on redaction:

“The Flint water crisis is an extraordinary circumstance and therefore I’m taking this unprecedented step of releasing my emails to ensure that the people of Michigan know the truth,” Snyder wrote.

But that pledge didn’t translate smoothly into the first document of the 274-page tranche released Wednesday: A three-page email that was entirely blacked out.

It is my hope that newspapers and broadcasters worldwide zero in on both Rick Scott and Rick Snyder, whose individual abuses of power are by no means limited to prison homicides and water pipes. It’s time for international shout-outs for UN intervention, forcing President Obama to order the FBI and Department of Justice to immediately and diligently investigate both men for acting under Color of Law.

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