May 25, 2014

It's been a very intense week!

When Julie Brown of the Miami Herald broke the story about Darren Rainey last Sunday the 18th, I contacted her immediately by email to schedule an interview. Since then I've interviewed with Michele Gillen, chief investigative reporter at WFOR-TV, Miami. As a result, I was contacted by Wilson Sayre of WLRN, Miami to interview as well. I had lunch at Books and Books on Lincoln Road with two attorneys from Disability Rights Florida who listened to my accounts of how disabled inmates were treated.

So far, Julie Brown has written three articles. An op-ed came out in the middle of the week and Fred Grimm added his voice in an op-ed in today's Herald. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the effort to make abuses known. People need to know what's happening to mentally ill inmates in prisons all over Florida.

I just got off the phone with Darren Rainey's brother, Andre. He was unaware of what was happening down here as he lives up north in Tampa. I filled him in on efforts to pressure Miami-Dade Homicide and the Medical Examiner's office to bring his brother's killers to justice. Andre and I had quite a long conversation and something he said about Darren made me ponder the effects of an abusive prison environment on the human psyche. He said Darren was well known around the neighborhood and was definitely not mentally ill. Andre takes exception to any portrayal of his brother as "crazy." For me this raises an important question, "Can the abuse and mistreatment of inmates in prison result in them becoming mentally unstable?" In Rainey's case this seems to hold true. 

An example from when I worked at Dade CI may shed some light here. One man on my caseload who weighed in at 140 pounds, who was one of my most successful cases, was slammed to the concrete floor by two guards who outweighed him by at least 250 pounds. He received stitches to close a gaping wound to his forehead. After this excessive use of force, he was never the same. He completely decompensated; he was worse than before I started working with him. In fact, this inmate actually assaulted me later. My work with many men on my caseload was consistently sabotaged by guards. My repeated disclosures to supervisors led nowhere. Just another day in prison…

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George Mallinckrodt