Sen. Dwight Bullard Calls On Gov. Rick Scott To Investigate Prison Deaths

Jul 22, 2014

It's been two years since Darren Rainey's death at Dade Correctional Institute.
Credit Bob Jagendorf / Wikimedia

Miami-Dade County officials are calling on Gov. Rick Scott to investigate the death of a mentally ill inmate at Dade Correctional Institute.

Darren Rainey was found dead two years ago in a closet-size shower stall. He had been put there and left for two hours in scalding-hot water as punishment.

Sen. Dwight Bullard organized a press conference at Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church this week to address law enforcement misdoings.

He says people deserve the right to live, whether they are inmates, individuals looking for federal assistance or workers.

Sen. Bullard thinks the prison system needs to hire people who are less concerned in running state departments as business.

“What we are looking for is hiring individuals who are concerned about the populations within,” says Bullard. “It’s important to put people who care about people in those leadership roles in order to affect real change.”

Bullard says the Scott administration needs to investigate inmate deaths within the Florida Department of Corrections, and also the children lost under the supervision of the Department of Children and Family.

Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews responded to Sen. Bullard’s request in a press release.  He says he appreciates the Senator’s support in calling for the Miami-Dade Police Department to conclude the investigation into the Rainey case.

“The department has taken many steps to ensure we are acting in the best interest of inmate and staff safety,” says Crews.  “Including the ongoing review of procedures related to inmates with mental health conditions.”

During the same press conference, Rep. Cynthia Stafford talked about a bill she is sponsoring next to Sen. Bullard to raise Florida’s minimum wage from $7.93 up to $10.10 an hour.

She says now that the recession is over, the only people making profit are big corporations.

“Even though, you know, everyone else is getting a raise at the top,” says Stafford. “But the ones who help you get those bonuses are not being compensated or being paid anything more.”

Stafford thinks people working full-time should not be living just above the poverty line.

She says this is an issue of fairness and improving people’s quality of life; if people make more, they will spend more and enjoy things in life.   

The bill did not pass this year, but Stafford plans to reintroduce it for next year’s session.