Four investigators with the Department of Corrections have filed a whistle-blower complaint against their employer the state of Florida. The complaint alleges that Florida’s prison system is teeming with corruption, brutality, and authorized gang violence. Specifically, the complaint alleges that guards employ gang enforcers to control prisoners, that prisoners have been beaten and tortured, and that guards trade drugs and other contraband for money and sexual favors from the prisoners. The complaint further alleges that when the investigators tried to disclose what was going on in these prisons, the state reacted against them.
This isn’t the first report of abusive treatments by corrections officers in Florida prisons. Previously, it was reported that an inmate at Dade Correctional Institution was led into a boiling hot shower and left there until he collapsed and died. However, that report stemmed from claims made by inmates, nurses and psychotherapists. This time the reports of alleged abuse stem from the correctional officers themselves.
One specific alleged abuse found in the whistle blower complaint revolves around the death of 27 year-old inmate Randall Jordan-Aparo. Aparo who was serving an 18-month sentence for credit card fraud and drug charges was found dead at Franklin Correctional Institution and his body covered in yellow chemical gas. Reports maintain that Aparo was placed in solitary confinement and gassed following his request for medical attention to alleviate a worsening medical condition. Reports further support that Aparo was begging for medical care for weeks and had grown weak and was barely able to breathe, walk or talk. After prison nurses refused his demand to be taken to a hospital, Aparo cursed and threatened the nurses. The nurses reported this to the guards who subsequently placed Aparo in solitary confinement and then gassed him.
The death of Aparo was twisted. Prison guards and supervisors together fabricated reports claiming that their treatment of Aparo was warranted due to Aparo’s behavior. Both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General are currently investigating Aparo’s death.
The allegations surrounding Florida’s prison system and the treatment of its prisoners are grave and have many civil rights groups demanding answers. Although no charges have been filed, an investigation is currently underway according to Melinda Miguel, Gov. Rick Scott’s chief inspector general who maintained, “we have zero tolerance for unethical behavior, and take any allegations of abuse seriously.”