Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Man starves to death in Florida prison

When Vincent Gaines was sentenced to five years in prison on robbery charges in June 2013, state officials recommended he be placed in a mental-health unit because he had regular visual and auditory hallucinations. So Gaines was transferred to the Dade Correctional Institution in South Miami-Dade County, where he was placed on a "boneless diet" that left the five-foot-nine man 40 pounds lighter — dropping from 190 to 151 — in just 18 months.
After accumulating a series of disciplinary reports, Gaines was shuffled through multiple prisons before winding up at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida, where he soon died. In his autopsy, he weighed only 115 pounds and showed obvious signs of malnourishment, reported the Miami  New Times.
Now Gaines' family says the evidence is clear: He was starved to death inside the state prison system and then buried on Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) property without their knowledge or consent. His mother, Lorine, sued FDOC head Julie Jones, former for-profit prison health provider Corizon Health, and Union CI warden Kevin Jordan in North Florida federal court. The Palm Beach Post, which published a stinging investigation into Corizon Health's deadly failures across Florida in 2014, first reported on the lawsuit yesterday afternoon. To file the suit, Lorine Gaines partnered with the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), a nonprofit that fights for the rights of ex-prisoners nationwide.
"It is an outrage that in the 21st-century American prisoners are being starved to death in barbaric conditions by a prison system whose employees enjoy total impunity for their criminal actions," HRDC executive director Paul Wright, himself a former prisoner, said in a news release. (In addition to founding the HRDC, Wright also founded Prison Legal News, a monthly news magazine for and by prisoners, from his jail cell in 1990.) "We hope the civil justice system will help provide the deterrence that is otherwise sadly lacking within Florida’s prison system."
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