June 14, 2020
June 23, 2012 Darren Rainey, 50 year old convict, who suffered from schizophrenia, was somewhat combative, though not violent, was found dead in a shower in Dade County Correctional Institute 2 hours after being placed there by guards. Why no one had asked what a schizophrenic man, of no real threat to anyone was serving out a prison sentence in a facility meant for non-mentally ill inmates is very important.
The story on the website Unresolved.me follows the unbelievable circumstances of this case.
Lets start with the fact that he was burned, scolded from head to toe (photos here – disturbing to say the least) from being in a shower where the water was heated to boiling (the only way third degree burns over that much of the body can occur) and then left under constant flow of that boiling water for two hours.
Friends are rightly concerned that Darren had been forced to stand under the stream of boiling water as probably the only way to be scolded to that extent.
Then go to the fact he should have never been housed with inmates not suffering from severe mental-illness (Note schizophrenia is a disease that effects the brain, not a choice or weakness, and is defined by clear symptoms).
Darren was a non-violent offender and although frustrating did not exhibit any abnormal symptoms or violent tendencies. In his earlier years he exhibited signs of violence but those, like in many cases had been decades previous, and the combativeness is usually more of the staff and police not knowing how to handle the outbursts, than the ill person being violent. The fact is the outbursts can seem threatening, disgusting and overwhelming to many who lack training in their abatement. Many psychiatrists will report that what Darren had been doing, the spreading of feces, is disgusting, but not out of character, and had he been in the proper facility he would have been cared for (most likely stopped before the situation escalated).
Starting from that point it is reasonable to assume guards who were untrained in how to deal with a non-violent, but severely mentally ill person, would be disgusted and had no clear means to care for Darren. Their anger and cruelty in dealing with Darren, who showed no signs of combativeness, was unwarranted, and their actions were most likely approved.
That is why it is so important to see this from the stand-point of Darren shouldn’t have been in that facility from the very beginning. Treating schizophrenia in a facility meant for people who are violent, without schizophrenia, is the same as treating a broken leg in a home kitchen with towels. There just can’t be any comparison. The facility in Dade CI is meant to treat the mildly dysfunctional, criminals and it is accepted practice to try and restrain people in Darren’s circumstances. To handle them with brutality far beyond what is necessary because the staff think the more severe the punishment, the less likely the behavior will repeat. Of course this can’t be the case and the behaviors only get worse, because of the punishment. The guards response is to be more brutal, until they kill the inmate, as they say unfortunate but what could they do?
Not only do the guards need to be held responsible, the entire way of housing the severely mentally ill for non-violent crimes must be restructured and staff and doctors must be held accountable at all levels.
Further reading on this situation
Wikipedia Article (not complete)