Dade Correctional Institution

Florida Department of Corrections

The family of a mentally ill Florida inmate who died after being left for nearly two hours in a hot shower has settled a civil rights lawsuit against the state's Department of Corrections and others for $4.5 million.

Prosecutors in Miami-Dade County said that they found no evidence of a crime in the death of a prison inmate who was left for two hours in a hot shower.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered changes at the Department of Corrections last Friday to address prison beatings and corruption after the Legislature went home without doing the same.

The Legislature was working on bills to address problems after a series of reports detailed deaths, cover-ups and corruption in the prison system. But the bills died when the Florida House went home three days early over a budget impasse and a dispute with the Senate over health care coverage for the poor.

The former Dade Correctional Institution warden detailed what he called dysfunctional conditions of the facility after a violent inmate escaped the prison Friday, the Miami Herald reports. 

According to Jerry Cummings, every area of the prison is broken or corrupted, including a central office in Tallahassee that ignored a variety of problems such as failed inspections, chronic abuse of inmates, and suspicious deaths, according to the Herald

Florida prison officials said Friday that they're hiring an ombudsman to oversee the treatment of mentally ill inmates in the wake of widespread abuse allegations and cover-ups.

Between 15 and 20 percent of Florida's 100,000 prisoners have been diagnosed with a mental health condition that requires treatment. The ombudsman will work with about 1,000 inmates with severe mental illness who are admitted to inpatient units. Secretary Mike Crews said the agency also is beefing up crisis intervention training to help guards working with mentally ill prisoners.

Florida Inspectors General Office

A widening scandal focusing on the treatment of Florida prison inmates includes new allegations that Gov. Rick Scott's own top watchdog was warned about the possible cover-up of two suspicious prison deaths but did not do anything.

The Miami Herald reported Friday that the governor's chief inspector general received an anonymous letter in Oct. 2012 that included details about prisoners who had died while in state custody.

Florida Department of Corrections

 State prison officials did some major house cleaning this week, firing 13 people in the wake of widespread abuse allegations.

The Florida Department of Corrections on Friday announced the dismissal of three officers and two sergeants for punching and kicking a prisoner at Lancaster Correctional Institution.

Another officer was fired for a DUI arrest and another for driving with a suspended license.

Warden Details Prison Problems, Upgrades

Aug 18, 2014

New Dade Correctional Institution warden Les Odom has announced a variety of upgrades to overhaul the state prison and correct lapses in proper management.

The Miami Herald reported some of the improvements have already begun and others have been scheduled. Those include replacing the air conditioning in the area housing mentally ill inmates.

 An inmate at the troubled Dade Correctional Institution was found strangled to death in his cell last week, the Miami Herald reports.

Lavar Valentin was allegedly murdered by his cellmate, Eduardo Carmenates-Zayas, whom Valentin had asked to be moved away from as he feared for his life, the Herald reports.

The family of a man strangled to death by his roommate at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, the Miami Herald reports. Raul Alexander Rios, 32, was being treated in the hospital’s psychiatric ward. His roommate, Alexander Thadeus Jackson, 31, is in jail, charged with murder.

The Florida Department of Corrections has agreed to turn over the investigation of  unattended deaths and serious injuries in the state’s prisons to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami Herald reports.

A mentally ill inmate’s death nearly two years ago has raised serious questions in how mentally ill prisoners are treated in the Dade Correctional Institution.  Darren Rainey, 50, was allegedly locked in a shower with scalding water turned on for more than an hour, according to the Miami Herald.