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Federal Investigation Underway Into Mentally Ill Inmate's Gruesome Death

Florida Department of Corrections

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the gruesome death of a Florida inmate and may conduct a broader civil rights investigation into the state’s troubled prison system.

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida requested the federal probe. And, the Justice Department recently responded with a letter confirming a criminal investigation into the 2012 death of Darren Rainey, is in fact, underway. The mentally ill inmate died after he was allegedly locked in a scalding hot shower at Dade Correctional Institution by prison guards.

As first reported by Miami Herald, the letter also states the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is considering a "pattern or practice" probe into claims mentally ill inmates were mistreated.

The federal probe comes as Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones requested the expedited release of the medical examiner’s findings into Rainey’s death earlier this month.

Florida’s troubled prison system has come under fire for inmate deaths and cover-ups.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.