Yesterday, the Miami Herald reported on a topic of real significance to the criminal defense legal field: ubiquitous corruption throughout Florida’s prison system.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that jails and prisons are supposed to be places in which offenders are rehabilitated, where they’ve given a chance to reflect on what they’ve done and reform themselves prior to returning to free society.
However, as new reports from prison inspectors indicate, the so-called spaces of rehabilitation aren’t what they seem to be. According to new testimony, Florida’s prisons are riddled with gang violence, crime, medical neglect and inmate abuse.
On Tuesday, both current and former state prison inspects told Florida legislators that they were, time and time again, told to ignore evidence of the crimes being committed by corrupt prison officials. The inspectors were allegedly told that if the evidence was not ignored, the information that might come out would give the Florida Department of Corrections a “black eye.” In other words, state prison officials felt it more important to maintain the credibility and professional appearance of their agency than ensure that Florida’s inmate population be spared from abuse.
In their testimony, the inspectors recalled how they were instructed to keep information from prosecutors, to end ongoing investigations into politically-connected prison staffers and to not bring any criminal charges against corrupt prison officials, regardless of how much evidence they uncovered. For people who oversee the punishment of criminals, it sure is ironic — and breathtaking — how much shady covering-up the prison officials engaged in to avoid having their corrupt behavior brought to light.
One individual who worked in the Inspector General’s office was dismissed from his job just four days after the Miami Herald went public with a story about how the man and his colleagues uncovered possible criminal wrongdoing, and a cover-up, in the 2010 gassing death of an inmate in isolation in a Florida prison, allegedly at the hands of prison staff. As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert can see, it’s clear that those in charge of our state’s prisons wanted to keep a lid shut on the corruption taking place in the broken system.
This testimony coming to light this week is not simply evidence of past corruption and wrongdoing. This month, our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand, a mother is still petitioning the state prison system for answers regarding her son’s alleged beating in a Florida prison three weeks ago.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal defense issue, or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward and/or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.