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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