Death leads to seventh criminal probe at troubled Florida prison | Miami HeraldDeath leads to seventh criminal probe at troubled Florida prison | Miami Herald
Last month, inmate Robert Peterkin was found dead under what his family believes is suspicious circumstances. The family said they were told Peterkin hanged himself, but they suspect something more sinister was behind his death.
“My brother said to me and my eldest sister that if anything should ever happen to him that we should go after them,’’ his sister, Cecelia Martin, told the Bradenton Herald last month.
“He said nothing will be like it appears to be.’’
The troubled Florida prison mentioned in the Miami Herald headline is Charlotte Correctional Institution.
Robert Peterkin’s is the second photo of a deceased inmate that I’ve found on the Florida Department of Corrections’ website that bears a caption stating that it was provided by an outside source. Because our prison system is so very violent, and so very prone to medical negligence (which only partly explains why so many inmates are underweight), it is reasonable to assume that there are reasons – disturbing ones – for substitute photos.
Please take a few moments to browse the Miami Herald‘s interactive on Florida prison deaths.
Then consider that Florida’s legislature is not at all interested in prison reform, although they did a good job of pretending to be for one session; that Florida Chief Inspector General Miguel hardly ever finds anything egregiously amiss to be within her jurisdiction; that Florida Attorney General Bondi is too busy with matters like trying to wreck plans to clean up the Chesapeake Bay to do anything useful for Floridians; that Governor Rick Scott only rightly remembers that he indeed has investigatory powers when his party calls upon him to participate in witch hunts, like his devious “investigation” of Planned Parenthood. Consider, too, that the FBI participates in Florida’s corruption, instead of investigating it … it has been that way decade after decade, director after director, within the knowledge of Congressional Oversight Committees.
This lazy, crazy, congealed corruption leaves but one alternative to cleaning up Florida’s prisons – a Department of Justice takeover.
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones talks of tablets for inmates. And air conditioning.
Dead inmates don’t need either.
The overcrowding and under-staffing can be resolved within weeks, leaving a budget surplus to hire and train corrections officers that deserve generous pay and benefits as well as a generous pension. Underpaying unqualified personnel is too costly – we pay for it not only in wrongful death suits, but in the blood and tears of family members that had every right to expect that their loved ones would survive their sentences.
The swiftest way to end overcrowding and under-staffing is the most just. There are inmates who should have been paroled years (or even decades) ago that remain incarcerated based on libelous Discipline Reports, and the FDoC knows who their libelers are. There are inmates convicted of violation of parole that involves only the inability to pay fines and fees, who will charged additional fines and fees upon release that will make their return all the likelier, which is just stupid. There are inmates who were sentenced for possessing minor amounts of marijuana, which is ludicrous. There are inmates who are too mentally ill to be anywhere other than a mental health facility. There are inmates who are too physically ill to pose a danger to society that can be compassionately released, instead of dying horrific deaths with only Tylenol to manage their pain.
Floridians deserve a FDoC that is staffed entirely by the likes of John Piscotta, who was fired for not participating in the coverup of a fellow corrections officer tearing out Kelly Brady’s eye … at Charlotte Correctional Institution.
The Department of Justice can accomplish that. Florida’s prison system is just as deserving of its oversight as L.A. County jails.
Robert Peterkin wasn’t suicidal. He told his family to expect a coverup if he died.
Enough, damn it. Enough.