TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) - State corrections officials have replaced the leadership team at a South Florida prison where an inmate was left in a scalding shower until he died.
Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews announced in a news release Thursday that Dade Correctional Institution will now be run by warden Les Odom, assistant warden Jose Lugo and Col. Victor Barber. The former warden, Jerry Cummings, has been on administrative leave since Crews visited the facility last week.
The visit was part of an investigation into the death of Darren Rainey, a mentally ill prisoner who was punished in 2012 with a shower so hot that his skin separated from his body. Crews said he was further upset after learning that he wasn't briefed on an apparently natural inmate death that had occurred just before his arrival.
"I have not been satisfied with the information flow from Dade C.I. and we need leaders there who will act with urgency to protect the safety of the inmates and staff, and hold individuals accountable when needed," said Secretary Crews. "This change will send a message throughout the Department that service is a privilege and leaders must meet the fullest extent of their duty to Florida. That's why today we have terminated Warden Cummings and appointed Warden Les Odom, Assistant Warden Jose Lugo and Colonel Victor Barber for these important leadership positions and I have every confidence they will rise to the challenge."
While in Miami last week, Secretary Crews also had a productive meeting with the Miami-Dade Police Department's investigative unit, who assured him the ongoing Rainey case was nearing an end.
Secretary Crews said, "Today I am also asking Miami-Dade to complete their investigation immediately. This investigation has taken too long and it is time to get the facts so we can take any additional action that may be necessary."
Two of the corrections officers who were on duty the night of inmate Rainey's death have resigned from the Department. Officer Cornelius Thompson resigned from the agency in June of last year. The other officer, Roland Clarke, submitted his letter of resignation on July 2.