May 2, 2015

Response to Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones' Press Release and Letter to Medical Examiner Dr. Hyma

George's Note: I sent this out to the same media outlets that the FL DOC did. Before you read my response to Julie Jones, please scroll down and read her press release and letter.

My name is George Mallinckrodt. I worked for nearly three years as a psychotherapist in a Florida state prison psychiatric ward at the Dade Correctional Institution. In the ward known as the Transitional Care Unit, mentally ill inmates on my caseload were tormented, beaten, and tortured. 

After I no longer worked there, an inmate named Darren Rainey was killed by corrections officers. Since coming forward publicly in an early Miami Herald article, I have advocated for the humane treatment of inmates in prison, especially the mentally ill.

Today, May 1st, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones issued a press release and sent a letter to Medical Examiner Dr. Hyma regarding "the true facts and findings resulting from your investigation" of the scalding death of Darren Rainey on June 23, 2012. While it is laudable that Jones is requesting action, her tone is disingenuous.

I'm really disturbed that Julie Jones portrays the DOC as having "worked collaboratively" with a number of investigative agencies, including the FBI, "since the initiation of this investigation." This smacks of a history revised, if not an outright lie. Let's be clear. The FL DOC dropped the ball along with everyone else in the months after Rainey's killing. In fact, on October 12, 2012, I personally met with FBI agents in their Homestead office. Despite my vivid description of how I heard Darren Rainey was killed, they passed on an investigation. In other words, the FBI was not even in the picture then.

Until the Miami Herald stories by Julie Brown, Rainey's case was closed. In the first week of October 2014, a group I'm a member of, Stop Prison Abuse Now, met with Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and four of her top Assistant State Attorneys. We were told that the case had been classified as "an in custody death from natural causes." For that reason, Rundle claimed Rainey's file never crossed her desk and that the first she heard of it was reading the Miami Herald stories. So, another agency that was not involved in the original third rate investigation.

All this supposed cooperation only happened after pressure from the Herald and human rights groups. The DOC response: the release of a slew of unreadable redacted documents related to the Rainey slaying. If the DOC was so keen on finding out the "true facts," the corrections officers who put Rainey in the shower to die would have been arrested over two years ago! It sickens me that the DOC is made to look like it has taken the high road. Julie Jones' letter and press release should be seen for what they are: well crafted self-serving rhetoric designed to make the DOC look like something it's not - concerned, accountable, and transparent.

A final thought. At the bottom of Julie Jones' letter there is this:

Trust * Respect * Accountability * Integrity * Leadership

I have seen little in the last six plus years of my total experience of the DOC to suggest these notions are anything but a wish list. Just because it is written doesn't mean it's true! Be true to your words, prove to "the people of Florida" the Florida Department of Corrections is deserving of these labels. I for one will not be holding my breath.

George Mallinckrodt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   Contact: DOC Communications
May 1, 2015                                                              (850) 488-0420

Secretary Julie Jones Urges Medical Examiner to Release Findings

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones today sent a letter to Dr. Bruce A. Hyma, Chief Medical Examiner in Miami-Dade County, requesting that the Medical Examiner’s Office in Miami-Dade County expedite the release of its findings in the death of Darren Rainey.

Since the initiation of this investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), the Florida Department of Corrections has worked collaboratively with the MDPD, the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Office, State Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Department of Justice. The Department will continue to fully cooperate with our law enforcement partners and employ all available resources to ensure that a thorough investigation is completed as expeditiously as possible.

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The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.

Albert Einstein

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George Mallinckrodt