This thread will feature multiple stories.
Boiled to Death
The Miami Herald featured a story about a Florida prisoner who was scalded to death in boiling water in a shower closet in a confinement unit at Dade Correctional Institution. Darren Rainey, 50 years of age, was serving a two-year sentence for drug possession, and was killed in the prison on June 23, 2012.
Rainey suffered from mental illness and had defecated in his cell. When he refused to clean up the mess, he was placed in a small shower for almost two hours under scalding hot water. According to other prisoners in the unit, the shower was used as punishment for prisoners who angered the guards; in the 30 minutes before Rainey collapsed he reportedly screamed and pleaded for help.
"How do you like your shower?" one guard taunted him, said prisoner Mark Joiner. "He was crying, please stop," but the guards said "Enjoy your shower" and left.
The 180-degree water left Rainey's skin peeling from his body. When an infirmary nurse took his temperature, it registered 102 degrees. He died shortly afterwards.
Joiner was ordered by guards to clean up the scene afterwards; he was provided with bleach and gloves, and found one blue canvas shoe in the shower plus large pieces of skin that had boiled off Rainey's body. "I just kept shoving it in the shoe," he said. "And then I asked, 'what do you want me to do with it?' And [the guard] said just throw it in the trash. So I did."
The Metro-Dade police department was called to the prison but did little investigating, failing to even keep the 911 tape. Two years later an autopsy report had not been issued; Rainey's death seemed to have been forgotten, just like other abuses in Florida Department of Corrections facilities. Then the Miami-Herald began to investigate after learning of efforts by prisoners such as Joiner and Harold Hampstead to bring Rainey's death to light.
Following the Herald's report nearly two years after Rainey's scalding death, several Florida Department of Corrections investigators filed a whistleblower suit claiming they faced retaliation when they tried to expose corruption, brutality and officially sanctioned gang violence within the prison system.
Their complaint revealed details surrounding the September 2010 death of Randall Jordan-Aparo, who was serving an 18-month sentence fr credit card fraud and drug charges, in a confinement unit at the Franklin Correctional Institution. Florida Department of Corrections investigator Aubrey P. Land had been dispatched to FCI in early 2013 to look into problems at the facility. "We got inmates down there that are getting their throats slashed on a regular basis," he said in an interview with Melinda Miguel, Governor Rick Scott's Inspector General. "Their faces slashed, beat down with locks and socks; tremendous amount of contraband allegations that staff is ordering this and bringing in contraband and being paid and everyone we're talking to is saying, 'You know they killed that kid.'"
Unlike many prison employees, Land not only listened but investigated. "So finally, I had enough, and I said go back and start looking at all the deaths," he stated. "Nobody would give me a name, an I find Randall Jordan-Aparo and immediately bells and whistles start going off. This thing ain't pretty."
Gassed to Death
On September 15, 2010, Jordan-Aparo, 27, complained of back pain after falling while playing basketball. He collapsed several times over the next few days, and was taken to the infirmary three times with a 102-degree temperature. Nurse Martha Greene performed an electrocardiogram but admitted she was not proficient at reading the results. Nonetheless, she concluded his heart was working properly.
The on-call prison physicial, Dr. Mohammad Choudhary, instruced Greene to begin an IV and keep Jordan-Aparo in the infirmary. The nurses were unable to insert the IV after several attempts, so they gave up and left him in the infirmary.
At about 4 a.m. on September 18, Jordan-Aparo complained to LPN Lucy Franklin about pain and requested to be sent to a hospital. After his request was denied, Jordan-Aparo said, "I'm going to sue your (*)(*)(*)(*)ing ass. I need to go to the hospital."
Greene called security, and without consulting a doctor Captain Mitchell Brown ordered that Jordan-Aparo be placed in an isolation cell for causing a "disturbance". A pre-confinement physical alleged he "had no known medical conditions that would be exacerbated by the use of chemical agents", despite his medical records indicating he had a disease that could cause respiratory difficulties.
According to prisoner witinesses, Sgt. Kevin Hampton told Jordan-Aparo, "Ain't nobody comin' to help you." He then ordered him to "man up" and be quiet.
With the approval of Col. Timothy Copeland at 11:25 a.m., Lt. Rollin "Suttie" Austin ordered Jordan-Aparo to be gassed. Over the next 40 minutes he was sprayed three times with three bursts per application of pepper spray; the third was three bursts of tear gas, which causes severe burning in the lungs.
Just 10 minutes of exposure to tear gas in such a confined space could be lethal, said Sven-Eric Jordt, an associate professor in anesthesiology at Duke University. "Obviously, the agent was sprayed directly on to the inmate and may have deposited on his skin, clothing, eyes, and mouth at much higher concentration, with less of it airborne, making the concentrations that much higher."
Guards said they then "escorted" Jordan-Aparo to a shower closet for decontamination. According to other prisoners he was dragged. Photographs and additional evidence put the guard's claim of decontamination efforts in question, the Miami-Herald reported.
"He was orange," one prisoner told investigators. The photos they viewed in 2013 showed Jordan-Aparo's body still coated with orange tear gas residue. They also found the cell had residue everywhere; the floor was smeared with orange, which also covered the the sink and toilet, and there was a dense orange cloud above the top bunk. Although guards said they had provided Jordan-Aparo with fresh clothes, he was in dirty orange-stained boxers when later found dead in his cell.
"I can't take it, I can't take the gas, I can't breathe," he cried out while being tear gassed, according to a prisoner witnesses. Jordan-Aparo was seen at 12:30 p.m. by prison nurses Franklin and Riley. Because he was allegedly uncooperative, despite video showing he was so weak coming out of the shower that a wheelchair was required, Riley was unable to obtain a blood pressure reading. Dr. Choudhary ordered over the phone that his blood pressure be taken, but the nurses instead allowed guards to take him back to his isolation cell. Two hours later, the nurses made another attempt to take Jordan-Aparo's blood pressure. He was unable to move, refused to cooperate and would not sign a release form, according to prison records.
At 4:30 p.m., Sgt. Hampton found Jordan-Aparo sprawled on the floor of his cell when serving the dinner meal. He allegedly refused to eat but gave a "thumbs up" sign. Jordan-Aparo was not checked on again until 6:08 p.m. At that time his lifeless body was discovered with "his mouth and nose [...] pressed to the bottom of the door, as if trying to gulp fresh air through the thin crack," the Herald reported. A paperback bible was lying under his shoulder.
"I've done this for 30 years. My skin doesn't crawl very often," said Land, the Florida Department of Corrections investigator. "They killed that damn kid. He laid there for five days begging for help." An autopsy found Jordan-Aparo's death was caused by a rare blood disorder that was treatable.
Previously another prisoner had died after being gassed by guards - Rommell Johnson, 44, who died at the Northwest Florida Receptin Center in June 2010. Although he had chronic asthma, his death was found to be accidental by a medical examiner and the Florida Department of Corrections inspector general. His mother received a $175,000 settlement after filing a lawsuit. Howeverm Johnson's death was opened for reexaination in March 2015 following widespread publicity related to other prisoner's deaths.
Unfortunately, the reason why these types of things are allowed to go on is the widespread prevalent view in society that these people basically "deserve whatever they get", so there is a great degree of indifference among the leaders and officials who should be protecting this vulnerable population.
Prisoners are also in a very vulnerable position, reliant on guards for everything they need and not being allowed freedom of movement.