Lack of privacy
Male guards occasionally watch as female inmates use the bathroom in Florida’s female jails. When women take showers, they are there. They can watch as the women get dressed or change. More than a third of the 153 prisoners who participated in a recent study said that male guards are present when they are in various states of undress. More than half of reports involved both male and female prison employees engaging in inappropriate sexual, verbal, or physical behavior. The charges against female guards typically entailed verbal harassment, including calling a prisoner a “whore.” But inappropriate sexual activity was the subject of 40% of the complaints against male guards.
The numbers, however, are important, according to the experts who assembled them, following two high-profile prisoner deaths last year, because so many of the female convicts said they had experienced abuse before entering prison. In comparison to 58 percent who reported sexual abuse, 41% reported physical abuse. According to a report by the Correctional Medical Authority, another watchdog organization established by the Legislature that took part in the investigation, a history of abuse may also result in the need for specialist mental health care.
The Department of Corrections has received recommendations from the Florida Corrections Commission and the Correctional Medical Authority. According to C.J. Drake, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, the department would carefully study the suggestions. Drake stated that since taking office in January of this year, Secretary Michael Moore has already made a number of choices that he believes will better serve the interests of female prisoners.
For instance, the government moved the women to a jail in South Florida after closing down Jefferson Correctional Institution. They will be nearer to family because many of the inmates are from that region, according to Drake. Jefferson will house male inmates. Drake also mentioned that the department is thinking about altering its training to better educate officers on the requirements of female inmates. In April, prisons were requested in a document to try to keep male personnel out of areas where they would see female convicts without clothes.
Additional suggestions for the department include the following:
- preventing male guards from pat-searching female prisoners unless an emergency arises.
- any strip searches of female criminals must be overseen by a woman, unless there is an emergency.
- ensuring that female police are on duty in the dorms when female offenders are most likely to shower or dress.
- requiring male officers to enter female dormitories with announcements of their presence.
- Additional measures are being taken to better track and look into claims of sexual misconduct in addition to providing more training on the subject.
- extending the prohibition on sexual misbehavior by government workers to cover those working in privately owned prisons.
A special advisory committee on female offenders to include representatives from other state agencies as well as outsiders with knowledge of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and related topics.
Multiple Florida DOC guards were found guilty of child sex abuse, smuggling, and assault. Just days after three other former Florida guards were sentenced to federal prison on February 28, 2022, a court in Citrus County, Florida, sentenced a former state prison guard to prison for child sex assault on March 6, 2022.
An individual who claims that a correctional officer sexually assaulted herwhen she was a prisoner at the Lowell Correctional Institution north of Ocala has filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections and the individual. Stephen Rossiter, the warden of Lowell, the biggest women’s jail in Florida and the US, is also named as a defendant. Only the prison officer’s surname name is mentioned in the suit. The woman’s name is being withheld by The Star-Banner due to the circumstances of the incident. She is being defended by south Florida attorney David A. Frankel and is suing for more than $75,000.
Assault on Prisoners
Three former Florida corrections officers were sentenced to several years in prisonon Monday, according to the prosecution, for beating an inmate while he was restrained and pushed to the ground, rendering him unconscious. According to court records, the attack on March 3, 2020, at the Hamilton Correctional Institution Annex included 15 kicks to the prisoner’s face.
According to court records, Coty Michael Wiltgen, 32, the former cop who kicked the man, received a sentence of three years and one month in jail. Ethan Burkett, a 25-year-old officer, and William Story Shackelford, who was also a police officer, received sentences of two years and seven months and two years and one month, respectively.
According to court records, Burkett was pursuing another prisoner when the prisoner who would later be beaten shoved Burkett out of the way. The prisoner who would be beaten was then placed in handcuffs, led to a location, and knocked to the ground.
A mentally ill prisoner was murdered
In connection with the death of an inmateon February 14 who was allegedly beaten to death after being taken from his cell, four Florida Corrections employees were detained and charged with murder. One of the instances of the widespread abuse and fatal incidents that take place in prisons around the US is the terrible death of the inmate at the hands of a brutal assault at the south Florida jail.
The victim has been identified as Ronald Ingram, a 60-year-old prisoner who was about to leave Dade Correctional Institution in Miami-Dade County and transfer to another jail in North Florida. The mental health wing of the institution housed Ingram’s cell. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement claims that the four policemen who were detained on Thursday and Friday—Ronald Connor, 24, Christopher Rolon, 29, Kirk Walton, 34, and Jeremy Godbolt, 28—put Ingram in handcuffs and removed him from his cell. Ingram was in handcuffs and obedient to orders from the officers, yet they nonetheless started beating him. According to the FDLE, before being taken out of his cell, the inmate “reportedly threw pee on one of the officers.”
Ingram is seen walking with prison officers from his cell to the transportation area in a security footage played at the news conference on Friday. Authorities suspect that Ingram was beaten during the time the group is out of view of the camera. When the gang is once again visible to the camera, Ingram looks to be unable to walk without assistance. When the van carrying Ingram stopped in Ocala, Florida, the prisoner was seen sprawled out on a bench.
The cause of death was judged by the medical examiner to be blunt-force trauma to Ingram’s upper body during an assault, which led to broken ribs, a punctured right lung, and internal bleeding that ultimately killed him, according to the arrest warrant. Additionally, Ingram had numerous bruises on his face and torso. Connor, Rolon, and Walton, the first three correctional guards, are accused with second-degree murder, harsh treatment of a prisoner, and aggravated mistreatment of an aged person.
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