Florida prisons are on track to be deadlier than 2017, the deadliest year on record | Miami Herald
All anyone really knows is inmate Timothy Thomas was very much alive on March 30 when he told an officer he didn’t want to go to breakfast — an act of defiance that would ultimately get him transferred to the confinement wing at Reception and Medical Center (RMC), a state prison in Lake Butler. What happened after that is a mystery, until April 2, when Thomas left confinement in a body bag, dead at age 43.
Kristopher Rodriguez is scheduled to be released on December 20th, less than seven months from today. That he’s managed to survive neglect and abuse in Florida prisons for five years – despite his severe mental illness – is no guarantee that he’ll make it out alive.
As matters stand, in fact, the odds are against him.
Once again, Florida Department of Corrections have cut off Kris’ mother’s visits.
Gemma is frantic; she knows what this means, she’s been through it before. And I’ve written about it before, more graphically than I can bear to do again tonight. There may be more injuries that they don’t want her to see, another dangerous drop in Kris’ weight and/or a return to a non-verbal state from improper or withheld psychiatric medications.
The Florida Department of Corrections prison population is falling, but the death toll is rising, as their chart below indicates.
Using an asterisk after Natural, the chart indicates that is that there’s reason to doubt that all the deaths described as natural actually were. There should be another asterisk after Accident, and yet another after Suicide. This is substantiated by investigative reporting not only by the Miami Herald, but nationally by the New Yorker, and internationally by the Guardian, etc.
Unnatural, often-violent deaths in lockups are happening nationwide, but Florida may well be in the lead in turning short sentences into death sentences.
Our prisons are underfunded, and one of the reasons is Governor Rick Scott’s expensive destruction of former Governor Charlie Crist’s automated Felon Rights Restoration process. The Tampa Bay Times recently wrote how much this has cost in administrative fees to keep people on the books who have already completed all the terms of their sentences … about $385M per year. That money should have been used to raise the wages of corrections personnel so that each facility could retain the best and brightest professionals, instead of becoming magnets for misfits and thugs. That money should have brought each facility up to code, and made them comfortable – in summer and winter alike – for personnel and for inmates.
Rick Scott could stop the hemorrhaging of funds tomorrow by reinstating Crist’s policy, but Scott is intent on keeping black and brown people away from the polls forever, because they may vote for Democrats.
It isn’t Jim Crow racism, because it wasn’t there when Scott took office. It’s New Jim Crow.
Misfits and thugs will keep the death toll rising, and I’ve written about as many unnatural inmate deaths on this blog as I can handle. My writing about Kris won’t get him home alive on December 20th, unless his story is shared. It isn’t just Democracy that dies behind closed doors, so do mentally and physically ill young inmates serving short sentences, and innocents serving other people’s time, anywhere where someone like Rick Scott is in charge.
Cause of Death 2013-2018
The table below reflects the number of inmate deaths from 2013 to 2018 by manner. A “pending” status indicates that the Department has not received the conclusions by the Medical Examiner or the death is under investigation by the Office of Inspector General or partner law enforcement agency.
|Year||Natural*||Accident||Homicide||Suicide||Pending||Total||Inmate Population on June 30th|
*Also includes cases listed as Undetermined by the Medical Examiner
The links below provide information on inmate deaths by name, date, manner of death and investigative status by each facility and by each year, including most up-to-date in the current year.