Death of Darren Rainey

Darren Rainey (January 12, 1962 – June 23, 2012) died at the Dade Correctional Institution (Dade CI) in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida,[1] on June 23, 2012.[2] The prison is in proximity to Florida City, and is south of Homestead.

Darren Rainey
The entrance to Dade Correctional Institution and Homestead Correctional Institution; Rainey died at Dade CI

In 2014, Dade CI prisoner Mark Joiner accused prison authorities of fatally torturing prisoner Darren Rainey, who was mentally ill, by scalding him in a shower.[3] On the night of his death, the 50-year-old Rainey, (DOC#060954), had served just a few months of a two-year prison sentence. About 7:30 p.m he defecated in his cell and smeared feces on himself and on the walls. Guards put him in the shower, telling him they would not let him out until he cleaned himself. According to the state attorney’s report, Rainey refused to stand under the water. He was found dead about two hours later covered in burns.[4] Originally the police classified the death as unexplained, and the DOC did not punish any staff until the warden was fired two years later. Two officers on duty at the time of the death later received promotions. The police began interviewing witnesses after the Miami Herald obtained public records and made a visit to the prison.[5] After filing a lawsuit, the family received a settlement in the matter of Rainey's death.


At the time of his death, Darren Rainey had been serving a two year sentence for the possession of cocaine, for which he had already been arrested 9 times. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.[6][7]

Manner of deathEdit

Rainey was locked in a shower for two hours. It was designed so that he had no control over the temperature of the 160 °F (71 °C) water. A paramedic who attempted to help Rainey wrote that he had second- and third-degree burns on over 30% of his body. It subsequently became known that his skin "fell off at the touch".[8]

At least eight other prisoners had also been reportedly subjected to a scalding shower within Dade's "Transitional Care Unit".[8]

Result of investigationEdit

As a result of the police investigation, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, and the Florida Council of Churches sent a letter to the United States Attorney General Eric Holder asking for intervention from the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ).[3] In April 2014, George Mallinckrodt, a psychotherapist who worked from 2008 to 2011 at the Dade Correctional Institution's psychiatric ward called the Transitional Care Unit, filed a complaint with the USDOJ about the way mentally ill prisoners are treated.[9]

In July 2014 Mike Crews, the FDOC secretary, suspended Jerry Cummings, the warden of the Dade Correctional institution, and put him on paid leave.[10] Later that month Cummings was fired.[11]

By May 2015, the Miami-Dade Police Department had not criminally charged any of the ward's staff, and the Miami-Dade medical examiner not completed a final autopsy report.[2] That month the U.S. Justice Department began investigating Rainey's death.[12]

In January 2016, the Miami-Dade Coroner's Office completed the autopsy of Darren Rainey. The autopsy was leaked to the Miami Herald and ruled Rainey's death as accidental, stemming from a combination of the confinement in the shower, his heart/lung problems and his schizophrenia. The coroner did not determine that the staff intended to hurt Rainey or that the shower had excessive heat. The final autopsy has not been released to the public.[13]

Photographs of Rainey's body were released in 2017.[14]

The family of the deceased filed a lawsuit that was settled in 2018 for $4.5 million.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Miami-Dade County, FL" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 90 (PDF p. 91/154). Retrieved 2022-08-13. Dade Correctional Instn
  2. ^ a b Brown, Julie K. (2015-05-17). "Behind bars, a brutal and unexplained death". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2015-07-05. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  3. ^ a b Brown, Julie K. "Prisoner: I cleaned up skin of inmate scalded in shower; human-rights groups call for federal intervention" (Archive). Miami Herald. June 25, 2014.
  4. ^ Brown, Julie K. (2014-05-17). "Behind bars, a brutal and unexplained death]". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
  5. ^ Brown, Julie K. (2014-06-14). "Prison death is one of several raising questions in Florida". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  6. ^ Simon, Howard L. (2017-05-11). "Prison wrong place for Darren Rainey, others with mental illness". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  7. ^ Simon, Howard L. (2017-05-12). "Prison wrong place for Darren Rainey, others with mental illness". Florida Justice Institute. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  8. ^ a b Press, Eyal (2016-05-02). "Madness". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  9. ^ Ovalle, David (22 Jan 2016). "Miami-Dade prison inmate death in shower ruled accidental, sources say". MiamiHerald. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  10. ^ Cordner, Sascha. "DOC Sec. Crews Suspends Warden Over Inmate Death Two Years Ago" (Archive). WFSU. July 10, 2014. Retrieved on May 26, 2015.
  11. ^ Brown, Julie K. (2014-07-17). "Dade Correctional Institution warden fired after inmate death in shower reported". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2015-07-05. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  12. ^ Cordner, Sascha (2015-05-20). "Federal Investigation Underway Into Mentally Ill Inmate's Gruesome Death". WFSU. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  13. ^ Ovalle, David (22 Jan 2016). "Miami-Dade prison inmate death in shower ruled accidental, sources say". MiamiHerald. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  14. ^ Brown, Julie K. (2017-05-06). "Graphic photos stir doubts about Darren Rainey's 'accidental' prison death". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  15. ^ Brown, Julie K. (2018-01-26). "Florida OKs $4.5 million payout for brutal prison shower death of Darren Rainey". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-13.

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