January 27, 2016

Human Rights Activist Faces Foreclosure in the 11th Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County, FL

RE: Civil Division Case No: 2015-024067 CA 01, West Court Condominium vs. George C. Mallinckrodt

Human Rights Activist Faces Foreclosure

When I became a human rights activist upon learning of the scalding death of Darren Rainey in the Florida state prison psychiatric unit where I once worked, I was unprepared for the personal and financial sacrifices that would confront me in the three and a half years that followed. In deciding that the humane treatment of the mentally ill would be my life's work, I passed the point of no return long ago.

Unfortunately, I've been unable to pay maintenance on my condominium with any regularity. I am some $3000 behind and am facing a court date on February 18th to start the foreclosure process. I am not asking for your pity. I am only asking for the understanding that I have no choice but to continue to make a difference in the lives of those suffering mental illness. As a psychotherapist, I can't imagine not doing this important work. For me, human rights is not a hobby—it's full-time 50 hours a week work. And that's a light week. 

If everyone who read this blog donated just $10, my campaign would be funded through the summer—$20 might sustain me to the end of the year considering my bare-to-the-bones cutbacks. I've provided an address where checks may be sent and a link to PayPal for those who prefer a credit card. Please share this blog with your friends.

I am desperate. I need your help to continue to be the voice for those who have no voice. I can't sit by while severely mentally ill men and women continue to be brutalized in our jails and prisons. Three days ago I was contacted by a woman whose brother had been murdered by correctional officers who made it look like a suicide. This is the third such suspicious death within the last 12 months that I've been personally informed of by grief stricken relatives. Hearing these and other accounts of brutality leave me no choice but to carry on.

For those interested, I've provided a framework below to explain more specifically what my human rights campaign is trying to accomplish.

Thank you for your generous support,

George Mallinckrodt

P. O. Box 398374                                 Link toPayPal
Miami Beach, FL

Campaign Explanation

The United States is experiencing a mental health crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Ten times more severely mentally ill people are incarcerated than are in state psychiatric hospitals. Forty percent of all individuals suffering severe mental health issues will have spent time in lockup. Those suffering severe mental illness are three times more likely to end up in prison than in a mental health treatment facility. The mentally ill are leaving our prisons and jails significantly worse off than when they entered. If they make it out!

The lack of a strong national mental health policy has resulted in a de facto return to the Middle Ages. The severely mentally ill are being rounded up and thrown into prisons to be tormented, beaten, gassed, electrocuted, tortured, and killed. Closures of psychiatric and community mental health facilities beginning in the 1960s combined with no follow-up plan for the severely mentally ill resulted in a mass transition to prisons layered with institutional brutality. The mentally ill are subjected to conditions far inferior to the atrocious psychiatric wards of yesteryear.

My campaign will strive to end mass incarceration of the severely mentally ill by encouraging legislators to enact money saving legislation that will provide humane, meaningful mental health treatment.  The cost of incarcerating the mentally ill is roughly double that of accommodating them in residential treatment centers. Equally important, funding community mental health programs reduces our bloated prison population.

As a result of recent high profile coverage of police and prison brutality, the public has never been more receptive to hearing from those who have witnessed prison brutality firsthand. I intend to capitalize on this opportunity by educating citizens about the horrific treatment mentally ill inmates receive and the means to improve conditions of confinement. Every single day, the mentally ill suffer wholesale maltreatment and cruel and unusual punishment.

To cut the supply of the severely mentally ill into our prisons, I will encourage lawmakers to fund state and community mental health facilities in addition to enacting school based initiatives. Early treatment in children's lives increases the probability of successful outcomes. Matching at-risk youth with appropriate mental health treatment is problematic given very few school systems provide these essential safety nets. Every child helped is one who avoids a justice system that criminalizes mental illness.

Treating the mentally ill in prison is last ditch effort that will never compare favorably with community based treatment unless strong measures are taken to provide humane treatment alternatives within our prison systems. Navigating layers of prison complexity is difficult for anyone. For the severely mentally ill, prison can be a frightfully overwhelming experience. Many patients on my caseload suffered the withholding of food, taunting, tormenting, and beatings. Excessive and malicious violence by prison guards jeopardized treatment outcomes and sabotaged my work as a psychotherapist.

Despite attempts by the Florida Department of Corrections to improve conditions, meaningful mental health treatment is a shaky proposition at best given the entrenched culture of brutality. In order to provide safe and effective mental health services to those already in our prisons, a new approach is necessary. To facilitate humane mental health treatment, carefully tailored institutional interventions to transition the mentally ill into specially designed facilities must occur. Every man or woman who has a successful treatment outcome is one less likely to end up back in prison. 

Currently, there are too few jail diversion and drug court programs available to divert the mentally ill and those with co-occurring substance abuse issues into community mental health treatment facilities. Diversion programs in San Antonio, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale have reduced local jail populations to the point that jail closures have saved millions in tax dollars. Every major populated county in our country should have diversion programs based on successful models already in existence. These programs would provide yet another win-win outcome by saving tax dollars while reducing the mass incarceration of the mentally ill.

In summary, efforts to reduce the mass incarceration of the mentally ill in our prisons and jails require simultaneous action on a number of fronts. It is of paramount importance to focus on strengthening and providing treatment to the mentally ill before they come in contact with the criminal justice system. School and community based programs are essential to providing early intervention to children and young adults whose chance of positive outcomes is greatest. Jail diversion programs and drug courts can provide local community treatment alternatives to incarceration. Those already incarcerated would benefit from humane treatment programs that would increase the odds of recovery while reducing recidivism.

January 23, 2016

The Cover-up Continues - "Miami-Dade Prison Inmate Death in Shower Ruled Accidental, Sources Say"

George's Note: The completed autopsy is not available to the public and those who would have experts give a detailed opinion on the findings. I invite you to compare what has been reported with the preliminary autopsy I posted below the article. There are many glaring inconsistencies and unexplained contradictions. To come forward at this point, three and a half years after Darren Rainey was killed, with a ruling that his death was "accidental" is an affront to common sense. I have spoken to a number of former employees who witnessed firsthand the atrocities at Dade CI — they are appalled at this result. To be continued...

Miami-Dade prison inmate death in shower ruled accidental, sources say
BY DAVID OVALLE   January 22, 2016

The death of Darren Rainey, a mentally ill inmate thrown into a steaming shower at Dade Correctional Institution in a case that sparked scrutiny on conditions inside Florida’s prison system, has been ruled accidental, the Herald has learned. 

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s autopsy report, completed this week, concluded that Rainey died from complications of schizophrenia, heart disease and “confinement” in the shower back in June 2012, according to multiple law enforcement sources. 

Rainey, 50, did not suffer any burns anywhere on his body, and investigators could not conclude that the specially rigged shower was “excessively” hot the day he collapsed, the report said. Sources said the autopsy concluded that corrections officers had “no intent” to harm Rainey when they kept him in the shower for up to two hours. 

The medical examiner’s office — more than three years after Rainey’s death, an unusually long time for a death investigation to last — gave its final autopsy report to Miami-Dade police and prosecutors this week. The autopsy report itself remains private because investigations remain ongoing. 

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office must now decide whether to charge corrections officers with committing a crime, such as manslaughter, for locking Rainey in the shower and leaving him. A spokesman declined to comment. 

A federal criminal investigation is also continuing into Rainey’s death. 


News of the “accidental” ruling drew immediate criticism from Miami’s American Civil Liberties Union.

“I have not reviewed the M.E. report, but it defies logic that the conclusion is that Darren Rainey’s death was accidental,” said Howard Simon, the ACLU’s executive director in Florida. “This is why we called for and still need an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.” 

Rainey’s death in the prison’s Transitional Care Unit, where inmates with mental illnesses are housed, was first reported by the Miami Herald. Those reports spurred a series of additional stories chronicling abuse of inmates in Florida prisons. For more than a year, the Herald has reviewed thousands of documents, conducted hundreds of interviews and visited prisons where prisoners have alleged they’ve seen or they themselves have been mentally, physically or sexually abused. 

The articles led to a shakeup in the leadership at the Florida Department of Corrections and a series of reforms, including budgeting for more officers. In the wake of the stories, the corrections department also entered into a landmark lawsuit settlement with a statewide disability advocacy group, pledging to improve conditions for inmates with mental illnesses. 

The corrections department said in a statement Friday that the agency will “remain committed” to working with investigators in the Rainey case. 

“The Florida Department of Corrections has not yet received a copy of the medical examiner’s report. Upon our receipt and evaluation of this report, the department will act swiftly in initiating all appropriate investigations and internal reviews,” spokesman McKinley Lewis said. 

Rainey died at Dade Correctional Institution south of Homestead, a troubled facility where inmates have reported abuse and inspections have found unsanitary conditions. Back in 2012, Rainey was serving a two-year prison term on a cocaine charge. 

The correction department’s Office of the Inspector General had suspended its investigation into Rainey’s death as the medical examiner’s office continued its work and prosecutors had yet to conclude their probe. 

Rainey suffered from heart disease and severe schizophrenia, for which he had been taking Haldol, a potent anti-psychotic drug that is known to elevate body temperatures and affect blood pressure and the heart, the autopsy reported, sources said. 

On the day he died, Rainey had defecated in his cell, a possible psychotic episode spurred by his mental disorder, the report said, according to sources. 

Prison officers took him to the small shower, which had been rigged to be controlled from an adjoining room, locked the door and left him there for up two hours as the stall filled with steam. Harold Hempstead, an inmate-orderly who was in a cell almost directly below the shower, told the Miami Herald he heard Rainey screaming for forgiveness. 

When staff finally took Rainey out of the stall, his skin seemingly melted off — a condition known as “slippage” caused by prolonged exposure to water, humidity and the “warm, moist” environment, the autopsy reported, sources said. 

He had no “thermal” injuries, or burns, on his body, the autopsy reported. 

As staff administered CPR to Rainey, a nurse clocked his internal temperature at 102 degrees, well above the normal temperature of 98.6, the autopsy report said. Nearly 12 hours after his death, Rainey’s body still had a temperature of about 94 degrees. 

Hempstead, a convicted burglar whose prison grievances and interviews with the Miami Herald first brought to light details of Rainey’s death, said he was shocked to learn that the death was ruled accidental. He told investigators, including those with the Justice Department, that the rigged shower was used on several other inmates with mental illnesses to terrorize them and keep them in line. The plumbing was dismantled after Rainey’s death. 

Other inmates told the Herald and investigators that they heard corrections officers taunt Rainey as he screamed to be let out, although Hempstead did not hear that. 

He said there were several showers closer to Rainey’s cell, and that the choice of this one — in which the controls were on the outside, inaccessible to Rainey — demonstrated the ill-intent of corrections officers. 

“Obviously his life was of no value because he was a black, poor, mentally disabled, Muslim prisoner,” said Hempstead in a prison interview by telephone. “The decision shows that black lives don’t matter.”