Death of Black prisoner scalded by jail guards ruled accidental

Darren Rainey (Image Source: Florida Dept. of Corrections)
Darren Rainey (Image Source: Florida Dept. of Corrections)

The name of Darren Rainey, 50, who died in 2012, escaped the notice of many. He was a mentally ill Muslim prisoner locked up for cocaine possession at Dade Correctional Institution. Rainey got the staff at the prison mad because he defecated in his cell and refused to clean it up. To punish him, they locked him in a shower stall and he was blasted with scalding hot water for 2 hours. The temperature was controlled by the guards and other prisoners heard his screams and pleading during his torture.  When the stall was finally opened Rainey’s skin had peeled away and his lifeless body was on the floor. The guards removed him and a prison nurse administered CPR to no avail.

According to the autopsy performed on his body his body temperature was more than 102 degrees and 12 hours after his death his core body temperature was 94 degrees. Despite his torture, the autopsy report stated that Rainey’s death was accidental due to complications of schizophrenia and heart disease.

The guards in the case are facing possible manslaughter charges and the autopsy report is being used as part of their defense in this case. The facility he was housed in has had a long history of prisoner abuse and neglect and is under investigation by the state of Florida and the U.S. justice Department. Because of the number of abuse cases for mentally ill and other disabled prisoners, the state settled a lawsuit with a disability advocacy group. As part of that lawsuit, the state agreed to improve conditions for mentally ill prisoners.

State officials announced last week that “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.”

State prosecutors are still investigating his death and have yet to determine if the guards involved will face any criminal charges.

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