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No Answer for Inmate's Scalding Shower Death - Prison Inmate Search

No Answer for Inmate’s Scalding Shower Death

On June 23, 2012, an inmate, Darren Rainey, was locked in a shower by prison guards after defecating in his cell and refusing to clean the mess. Rainey, because of his history of mental health issues, was incarcerated in the mental health unit at the Dade Correctional Unit in Miami, Florida. According to an inmate who worked at the unit as an orderly, the tiny shower was filled with steam and scalding water.

after one hour, the guards checked on Mr. Rainey. A medical document regarding his death noted that his skin was extremely burned and had shriveled from his body. The inmate, Mr. Hempstead, who allegedly witnessed the end of inmate Rainey, filed a grievance complaint stating that Mr. Rainey kept screaming, “I can’t take it no more, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.”

Hempstead wrote, “I then seen  his burnt dead body naked body go about two feet from my cell door on a stretcher.” The inmate, Mr. Rainey was incarcerated for possession of cocaine, a nonviolent crime, and had almost completed his two year sentence.

The homicide investigators were eventually called to investigate the death. By that time, another inmate, claimed in a letter to the inspector general that he was ordered to “clean up the crime scene” before the investigators had arrived at the facility.

It is almost June 2014, and the investigation is still unresolved. The Miami-Dade medical examiner has not completed an autopsy. The police have not arrested anyone for Mr. Rainey’s death. The Florida Department of Corrections stopped their investigation claiming no autopsy and no arrests by the police. There was a video camera in the shower area, but the inspector general’s report noted that it malfunctioned right after Rainey was locked in the shower. The Florida Department of Corrections claims that inmate Rainey died from a heart attack.

Can we consider this tragedy an isolated prison event? In March, PrisonPath posted an article about a former marine baked to death in a Riker’s cell. In that case, the inmate, Mr. Murdough, had mental health issues and was arrested for trespassing. Although this incident was not supposedly intentional, the treatment of this former Marine was further proof of the stunning indifference of many of our prisons and jails to the welfare of their inmates. While this former Marine was dying over several hours–What were the correctional officers doing? This callous attitude toward inmates can be found in other states. In Texas, 13 inmates have died from heat related deaths during the last five years. The dead inmate’s body temperatures have ranged from 106 degrees to 109 degrees. “I’m supposed to be watching them, I’m not supposed to be boiling them in their cells,” said one corrections supervisor for one of the Texas prisons.

There is no forgivable answer to the scalding death of Mr. Rainey. Mr. Rainey’s death is further proof that our American prison-jail system is broken.

By Bradley Schwartz
Founder of

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3 Responses to No Answer for Inmate’s Scalding Shower Death

  1. PrisonPath May 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    comment on “No Answer for Inmate’s Scalding Shower Death”
    Ex-Felon’s Employment Resource
    To Me
    Today at 12:54 PM


    Ex-Felon’s Employment Resource

    No Answer for Inmate’s Scalding Shower Death

    “Can we consider this tragedy an isolated prison event?”

    You are a fool, or possibly an academic, if you think so.

    While in prison I saw the therapist every other week. It helped me keep a balance while being abused by the imprisonment. While inside I could never tell where the mismanagement ended and the abuse began. Punishment seemed to be highly correlated with the degree of convenience to the staff.

    I had a chance to talk to men who had come down from level 4’s and 3’s and they told stories like this where the inmate didn’t die, but was taken back to their cell and thrown back inside. Everyone in the cell block would hear the beating in the shower. When I mentioned these stories to the therapist his comment was, “That couldn’t possibly happen in Virginia.”

    To believe that abuse is not systemic in prison is to deny human nature. Some of it is very violent, as in this case, other abuse is more subtle. A man I knew was denied medical care, ostensibly because the big growth on his head was a cyst and not a tumor.

    How do you know if you don’t test? If you are on the outside you would ask for a biopsy, which he did and was denied. It turned out that it was a tumor and he was eventually operated on. The surgeon told him if he had come in earlier he would still have the scalp on half his head.

    By the way the doctor wanted to do the biopsy, and it was the nurse who directed him not to do the test. Anecdotal? If you want to believe that this is just a sort of prison mythology then I guess so.

    By the way the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 was enacted in 1996 to restrict and discourage litigation by prisoners. Think about this. If you are abusing a class of people what is one of the first things you would do? Remove their voice in the courts. If this class of people have already been marginalized, depersonalized, and even dehumanized it is easy enough to do. But this is just the person the law is supposed to protect.
    By Ahimsa

  2. PrisonPath May 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    Not fool or academic, just a former inmate stating the case that sadistic punishments are part of our American penal system.
    By: Brad

  3. kathy williams May 30, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    This not hard to believe. The system is so broken and corrupt just like the world on the outside. I have heard so many stories about jail it is unreal. Are you aware that inmates have guns and use them on other inmates. I have relatives in fl. prison system it is worse then the world because you have nowhere to go.

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