Are Recent Arrests Of Florida Correctional Officers Proof Of New Prison Reform Policies?
Last month, a Lake City Correctional officer was arrested for lying about gassing an inmate in the face.
Most recently, three other arrests occurred—which included two Suwannee Correctional officers charged with battering two inmates by spraying them with chemical agents and also falsely reporting it …
Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker), who chaired the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, was in charge of this year’s effort to reform Florida’s prisons in the Senate. He calls the arrests proof things are turning around.
A drenched individual that just walked indoors is an obviously reliable source on whether it’s raining; an individual that hasn’t left his windowless cubicle for hours is just as obviously not a reliable source.
Just like rain, Florida prison reform is either happening, or it is isn’t. And it most definitely isn’t.
Given their taxpayer dependence, WFSU is obliged to find reliable sources for every article, and Greg Evers lost his short-lived credentials on prison reform when he failed to insist that the matter be addressed in Special Session after the Florida legislature walked off ahead of schedule, leaving many bills on the table.
I know that many inmates’ families have contacted Evers recently about prison reform, and that it hasn’t spurred him to take any action. It suggests that Evers’ interest in prison reform was perhaps staged, à la (R) state Senator Don Gaetz’s road show for redrawing districts honorably (years later, it’s still hasn’t happened).
Inmates’ families are still telling me of unacceptable conditions within Florida prisons. Their stories are confirmed by other inmates’ families, mortality stats on the Florida Department of Corrections website, and headlines. The latter two of these sources are available to WFSU and undeniably conclusive, which makes a lie of their question, “Are Recent Arrests Of Florida Correctional Officers Proof Of New Prison Reform Policies?”
Prison reform isn’t happening, and it’s not happening for a specific reason.
This, folks, is what a 2015 corrections officer conviction looks like: ten years probation for a confessed rapist.
Corrections officers do not fear being brought to justice … not in the least. The corrections officers that beat Matthew Walker to death got away with it, courtesy of prosecutorial incompetence, likely intentional.
Corrections officers that committed the horrific scalding homicide of Darren Rainey on June 23, 2012 haven’t even been arrested. There have been more suspicious deaths at Dade Correctional Institution, four so far this year:
There’s more. The shower closet used to kill Rainey had been used to torture other inmates before him. There were likely burns that medical personnel couldn’t help but notice. There was likely psychological trauma that mental health personnel couldn’t help but notice … it was a mental health unit, after all.
Because justice for Rainey wasn’t swift nor sure, Richard Mair committed suicide the following year in the very same unit, unable to stand the officers’ torture tactics any longer.
I needed Richard Mair to live. I needed him to be able to tell the Department of Justice about the sworn statement he gave to Jeff Abramowski about being twice solicited by Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy Gary Harrell to swear falsely against Jeff while both were inmates at the Brevard jail. I needed Richard to be alive to better protect the other Brevard jail inmate who belatedly refused to testify against Jeff. I needed Richard to be alive not only to better protect Jeff, but all the other framed Brevard men that I advocate for. I needed Richard alive to find out if he even committed the crime he was in prison for … after all, deputy Harrell was willing to set Richard free if he just played along and perjured himself.
There’s no such thing as a disposable Floridian. But the brutal majority of Florida public servants believe otherwise. It’s a belief that we can crush via insisting that the Department of Justice hold Rick Scott accountable. Please sign this petition, even if some of the issues make you uncomfortable. Florida has no recall process, and no impeachment process, and as states’ rights do not include violating the U.S. Constitution, our legislature more or less issued and maintains an open invitation for feds to remove Florida governors when trod upon citizens have no avenue to do so themselves.
The picture below isn’t how Richard Mair looked when he was first incarcerated. He was very likely one of the many mentally ill inmates that Dade Correctional Institution officers were deliberately starving.
Starving an inmate is cruel and unusual punishment. So is sexually abusing them. Abused inmates only hope shouldn’t be yet another inmate. But so far, it is. Harold Hempstead, whom the Miami Herald dubbed the Caged Crusader, is the most steadfast of advocates for having Florida prison personnel act under the rule of law, rather than by Color of Law.
I needed Richard Mair to live. Dade C.I. officers drove him to suicide. Harold Hempstead is not okay with that, but Rick Scott is: we can’t allow Scott to pretend that he’s a reformer when he’s only a performer … the four 2015 Dade C.I. suspicious deaths alone say so, although they’re hardly the only suspicious deaths. Please sign the petition. Thank you.