George C. Mallinckrodt


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Getting Away With Murder


Reader's Reviews
Chapter 1


America is experiencing a mental health crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Fifty years ago, shocking conditions and abuses in psychiatric facilities resulted in nationwide closures with no viable plan to provide care for former and future patients. For the severely mentally ill, ever diminishing funding for mental health has resulted in a de facto return to the Middle Ages. In a justice system that criminalizes mental illness, people who desperately need mental health services are instead routinely rounded up and thrown into prisons for no more than a manifestation of their psychiatric conditions.

Having worked as a psychotherapist for nearly three years in a Florida state prison psychiatric unit, George Mallinckrodt experienced firsthand the ultimate consequences of failed national and state mental health policies. With high hopes, 20 years of counseling experience, and a determination to make a difference, he dove headlong into the miasma of prison counseling.

Join Mallinckrodt on the front lines in an eye-opening odyssey peppered with patients suffering a range of mental illness from paranoid schizophrenia to garden variety depression. George provided counseling to men who committed every crime imaginable-even grave robbery.

Getting Away With Murder is an insider's account of a prison psychiatric ward in which the aberrant and bizarre are daily occurrences. Honest, unflinching, and darkly humorous, Mallinckrodt's memoir is populated with a host of colorful characters-patients and mental health staff alike.

AMAZON REVIEWS FOR:

'Prison is not as bad as you might think. It is so much worse.'

December 24, 2015. By Grady Harp, HALL OF FAME, TOP 100 REVIEWER, VINE VOICE

Florida author George Mallinckrodt places before us one of the most terrifying yet factual examinations of the abuse in our prisons. Not only is the news he unveils about the conditions present in those dark walls of incarceration shocking and deeply disturbing, but the manner in which he relates it is razor sharp - the kind of reading material that grabs you by the throat until the book is finished.

George is a psychotherapist working in a Florida state prison psychiatric ward where severely mentally ill patients in his caseload were abused, starved, taunted, tormented, and beaten by correctional officers. 'After a patient on my caseload was beaten by guards, my attempts to raise the issue of patient abuse were met with silence. My vociferous advocacy for the humane treatment of our patients ended in my dismissal. Ten months after my departure, guards put a man named Darren Rainey in a boiling hot shower and scalded him to death. Deeply impacted by Rainey's horrific death, I became an advocate for his justice on a local level, with FBI agents, and filing a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Special Litigation Section. The complaint provided secondhand details of Darren Rainey's murder and a host of other abuses I witnessed in my former unit. Two and a half years after I spoke with FBI agents, the Miami Herald reported that the DOJ had initiated a criminal investigation into Rainey's death.'

And so begins George's book - '"They killed him!" "What? Killed who? What happened, Carmen?" "A patient named Darren Rainey. Guards locked him in the shower in J3, the one with the broken faucets." "Yeah, the one where they adjust the temperature." "Guards on the weekend shift set it. Had only the hot on, over 180 degrees." "S**t. You mean Rainey got scalded to death? He must've screamed. Didn't anybody hear him?" "Just the patients in the unit. Told me he kept begging over and over, Please let me out. I won't do it no more." "What did he mean by, I won't do it no more? What the hell did he do?" "Smeared s**t around his cell. Poor guy was a total bug. Had a history of mental illness."

And that level of intensity pervades this 'docudrama' - a film in the preparatory stages possibly, but at the same time a very important document about an evil few of us know. This book sounds like it was written about a war zone prisoner of war jail and after reading it, it is likely the attention will result, hopefully, in some major changes about how mentally disturbed patients are treated during incarceration. A major work and a significant contribution to our knowledge of corruption.

They Get Away With Murder Almost Everyday in Florida.

I could not put this book down. George is a major force when it comes to exposing the barbaric actions of some of the most brutal, sadistic animals running our prisons today, especially in Florida. Rick Scott should be put in a Florida prison for a month, if just to witness what kind of climate and culture he contributes to.

By Gerard on April 30, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Shocking!

I am not involved in the correctional system in any way so I was shocked to read the sad and terrifying conditions for the mentally ill behind bars. I do not see how Mr. Mallinckrodt was able to work within the system for such a long time. His professionalism and desire to help probably made a huge impact on the lives of the inmates he worked so hard to help. The breakdown of the system is horrendous and frightening.

Sandra J. Barnes on November 26, 2014

Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach

This memoir of a psychiatric counselor's time working in the Florida prison system gives a chilling look inside Florida's prisons. From outsourced medical care to sadistic and brutal guards to indifferent management, Mallinckrodt paints an unvarnished picture of the abuses he witnessed. The dark humor he and his colleagues used to cope is evident throughout as he documents his growing frustration with the refusal of both the Florida Department of Corrections and his employer, a company contracted to provide mental health care, to meet the standards set forth in Florida law. In light of the recent discovery of the fate of Darren Rainey at the hands of DOC employees, this is a timely look at what really happens inside.

Sailor on December 8, 2014

This Story is One of The Reasons I Fight For Justice

A MUST read! This book will make you laugh, cry and scream out of anger, all at the same time, if that is possible. It uncovers the inhumane treatment of people who are incarcerated and are not mentally, physically or spiritually able to comprehend even the simplest occurrences in their daily lives. While reading, one cannot help but think, "What if this was one of my family members being treated like this." It draws you into the story...

Ethel Lopez on November 24, 2014


A shocking and darkly humorous account of working with mentally ill inmates in Florida's Dade Correctional Institution

George Mallinckrodt writes a gritty, mesmerizing account of his three years as psychotherapist in the "Transitional Care Unit" of the Dade Correctional Institution in south Florida, where inmates with mental health problems, including the most severe mental illnesses, are housed.

It's hard to put this book down. Although the subject is depressing, he weaves ribald prison humor and lively dialogue into his story. Mallinckrodt tells of his struggle with "being in prison" at a difficult and frustrating job. It is also a story about the inhumane and dangerous conditions for inmates in a run-down, poorly managed prison. Retribution keeps the inmates and the staff from reporting abuse. His journey from stressed out employee to prison rights advocate takes on greater urgency when a mentally ill inmate is brutally tortured and murdered by corrections officers in the prison and incident is completely covered up by authorities. (The investigation of the murder of the mentally ill inmate has still not been completed two years later.)

This book leaves you with the uncomfortable knowledge that terrible abuse is probably happening to inmates on a daily basis in badly managed prisons throughout the U.S., especially to inmates suffering from mental illness. If it were not for a few brave souls who are willing to report it, like Mallinckrodt and the inmates themselves, no one would ever know.

Amy M.


A Must Read

The author talks about the things no one wants to talk about or even knows about. But these are things the public needs to know. It is refreshing to know that someone cared and respected these men. Change must come. The book is riveting and very personal and should be life changing. He takes you to a place most of us have never even glimpsed.

Susan Michelson

George did a wonderful job, he really hit home with this.

Everyone should read this book. This is really what happens in the real world! Justice needs to be done! How can people sleep at night knowing this goes on. Please read this book. You will be amazed of how our Justice System really works.

Thanks George for this great book.

Debby Sapp

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Official Book Launch Photos and Video

I'd like to thank Books & Books and owner Mitch Kaplan for hosting a terrific book launch that was attended by a least 40 people. After my talk and reading, the discussion turned to DOC issues in general


Three mothers whose sons suffered in the FL Department of Corrections.

 

Chapter 1

The Murder

 

"They killed him!"

"What? Killed who? What happened, Carmen?"

"A patient named Darren Rainey. Guards locked him in the shower in J3, the one with the broken faucets."

"Yeah, the one where they adjust the temperature."

"Guards on the weekend shift set it. Had only the hot on, over 180 degrees."

"Shit. You mean Rainey got scalded to death? He must've screamed. Didn't anybody hear him?"

"Just the patients in the unit. Told me he kept begging over and over, Please let me out. I won't do it no more. "

"What did he mean by, I won't do it no more ? What the hell did he do?"

"Smeared shit around his cell. Poor guy was a total bug. Had a history of mental illness."

"What the hell, Carmen. If I'm feeling nauseous now, you must've freaked when you heard what happened."

"Stunned. Couldn't believe it. The cruelty. A patient said one guard tormented Rainey by asking if the shower was hot enough."

"Cruel doesn't begin to cover it. That's what a psychopath would do for kicks. To get off on another's suffering."

"Exactly. That's one of the things we talked about. After all the counselors cleared out, Dr. Alcine broke down and wept. Rainey was on her caseload."

"Oh Jesus, Carmen. So sorry to hear that. I met her that time she filled in for Ms. Parker. She's gotta be devastated."

"Nicole took it really hard. Sobbed like forever. Thing is, our patients can be killed by guards and there's nothin' we can do about it. This shit's seriously messed up."

"I feel for you Carmen, Swilling's beating was bad enough. But now they've killed a helpless mentally ill guy? Really? Here's a suggestion-get your license and get the fuck out of there."

"I hear you, George. Last few months, I've been studying a little more for the state exam. Time to step it up."

"Good idea. But what the fuck. Where the hell was security?"

"Came back but it was too late. Guys said Rainey stopped making sounds after about an hour. I talked to nurses who were there. One said his skin was peeling off when the guards took him out. Another said his temperature exceeded the limits of the thermometer."

"He must've been in agony. Was there an investigation?"

"Homicide, CSI, and FBI were here. Asked a lot of questions. But guys said guards ordered a patient named Joiner to clean up the shower stall, so I bet CSI didn't find a thing."

"Were there any arrests?"

"Not any I know of. Same nurses said they overheard a guard saying he didn't think they could get away with this one."

"I can hardly believe it. On the other hand, it's not surprising something like this happened. The situation was getting worse and worse when I was fired."

"Totally. That's what you were sayin' all along. Heard guards were using the shower treatment for discipline. A guy before Rainey got his back burned. Casey was his name. Told me he wrote a letter to his family about what happened."

"That's not discipline Carmen. It's flat out torture. Jesus, a year since I worked there and the place is going to shit. Least nobody died on my watch."

"That's not all. Two patients died a couple of months ago in medical."

"What happened to them?"

"Remember some of those guys who looked like they were from a concentration camp?"

"Yeah, they were crazy. Got starved or they refused to eat."

"Sure enough. The word out was that medical didn't get to them soon enough. Died from pneumonia."

"That's their typical response. Medical never did shit. Sounds like they died from a treatable condition."

"You know how they were George, they weren't the healthiest to begin with."

"Still, come on. Remember what I said TCU stood for?"

"Holy shit-Torture Chamber Unlimited."

"Carmen, be careful in there. TCU is out of control."

"Thanks, I will be."

 

After hanging up with Carmen, a flood of memories washed over me from my nearly three years at the Transitional Care Unit. We worked together as counselors in the Dade Correctional Institution, a Florida state prison. Ten months earlier I was fired for essentially speaking out against the abuse of the mentally ill at the hands of security as we called them. Otherwise known as correctional officers, COs, or guards, some of these thugs abused patients with impunity and even beat one up with mental health staff looking on. In fact, Carmen was an eyewitness to the beating. Fearing retaliation from guards, she elected to stay silent. At her insistence, I never mentioned her name in my Incident Reports.

Halfheartedly wrestling with patient abuse issues after my firing, a bunch of dead ends grounded me. Now this! The knot in my gut was reminiscent of the stress during my last months at TCU. My attempt to raise awareness of patient abuse in a morning meeting after the beating was met with silence. Filing two Incident Reports, one in Tallahassee at DOC headquarters and one at the prison itself, only created more grief for me.

Sitting at my desk, self-doubts emerged: Had my efforts been more aggressive and a hard line was taken, would the abusive behavior have escalated to this point, the killing of a patient? It felt as if to some degree, this tragedy was my fault. No. In actuality, a lot of this was my fault. I should have done more. But what?

A quote from Edmund Burke strengthened my resolve when I filed my first reports, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." My response to brutality was laudable, but apparently not enough. A man, a human being died a horrible death and two others died from what seemed like medical neglect by the Corizon medical staff.

Getting up from the desk, I went to the kitchen, feeling deeply unsettled. What about coming forward now? Who would be in a position to take action on my information? How could it be kept confidential? How much detail would I disclose and when?

If Carmen's part in the cover-up was made known, how would she react? Our friendship was at risk, but more importantly, she might be disqualified from getting her license. Dr. Robles, the do-nothing supervisor, could lose hers. Heck, she should lose her license. A registered intern came to her about a beating and she looked the other way. At the very least it's against DOC rules, not to mention a lack of ethics.

What about security? Guards who killed Rainey have guns. Tracking me down would be easy-my home, my art studio. Hell, my art studio was three miles from Dade CI. All these questions flooded me with visceral memories of crippling emotions from my last couple of months at Dade CI. Feeling nauseous, I grabbed the phone and flopped on the couch.

"Hey, Michelle. Can I run something by you?"

"Sure, you sound upset. What's wrong?"

Michelle was a trusted friend who would tell me the truth even if I didn't want to hear it. She was a psychotherapist too. Michelle counseled me countless times regarding disturbing prison situations.

"Remember Carmen, my former coworker from TCU?"

"Sure, she's the one who kept you sane while all that shit was going down."

"She told me some really disturbing news. One guy was killed by guards and two others died from medical neglect."

"That sounds awful. What happened?"

Michelle gasped as I relayed the horrific details of the scalding.

"As you described what Rainey went through, it felt like I was being suffocated. Like I was right there in the shower. And Nicole. If somebody on my caseload was murdered-oh my god. My heart goes out to her. What gets me is that guards killed a vulnerable mentally ill patient. That's barbaric on a level I can't wrap my mind around."

"Right Michelle. To enjoy human suffering like that is equal to the depravity we read about in the Holocaust."

We processed my struggle in figuring out my next step. My angst about what should or shouldn't be done about Rainey had become a dilemma.

"George, you're the kind of guy who takes action. You don't really have a choice."

"Had a feeling you were gonna say that. But this has got me pretty spooked. Even so, I think I gotta come forward."

"Don't know who you could talk to, but you should probably stay anonymous."

"Good idea, Michelle. Thanks for listening. I'll let you know what happens."

 

Speaking with Michelle helped clear my mind somewhat; there were many unknowns yet to face. My friend Wyatt, an Assistant United States Attorney, would know who to contact about the investigation. He was the first person I told about the beating Carmen had witnessed. At the time, he asked me to encourage her come forward. Carmen adamantly refused citing how security would make her life unbearable. She reminded me about Samantha, our former coworker and counselor. Samantha had reported to Dr. Do-Nothing that while in session with a patient, she looked out only to see the guard assigned to protect her asleep in his chair. Other times guards left after a few minutes. She was incensed. Here she was, with no security, in session with a lifer who had stabbed his girlfriend to death. Needless to say, she felt unprotected and vulnerable.

Security said she was lying and Do-Nothing sided with them. Guards even made up stories that Samantha was having affairs with some of her patients, not knowing she was gay. When she returned to work, to her shock and dismay, guards escorted her and unstable patients into the counseling room and then disappeared. They didn't even make a pretense of protecting her. A few days later, fearing for her life, she resigned. Samantha couldn't find work. Consequently, the bank began foreclosure proceedings against her.

Carmen said there was no way she could lose her job and she was not about to go into sessions with dangerous patients without backup. End result-no witness, no case. Perhaps Wyatt might know someone in the Department of Justice who would investigate the pervasive and callous indifference that ultimately led to three deaths. The Justice Department was known to have initiated probes into just this variety of malfeasance.

Needing to get some perspective, I opted for a walk and a cup of coffee. People without a care in the world were sitting in the Starbucks chit chatting away. Taking a sip of coffee, I glanced down the table. There they were, the happy couple talking about having a pizza, or having a baby for that matter. Smile, smile, blah, blah. Shit. My hands were full with a potential life and death situation. My own to begin with. Not to mention the men in the psych ward. Peering into my steaming coffee, my brain was in overdrive conjuring up all manner of possible outcomes and contingencies.

There were four major concerns. First, saying nothing and doing nothing would mean business as usual in the unit. Guards would be on their best behavior for a time and then return to abusing patients. Witnessing this pattern on numerous occasions, I was 100% confident that the same psychos who put Rainey in the shower would be at it again, sooner or later. Second, attempting to get Rainey justice might bring retaliation or worse from morally and ethically challenged guards. Third, Carmen could suffer career-ending circumstances for not coming clean, and at 67 years of age, it would be devastating. Finally, once events were set into motion, outcomes could become wildly unpredictable. Little did I know this would be the case and then some.

On the walk home, clarity emerged. Stepping forward was the only choice. Consequences would unfold as they may. Feeling exposed and alone left me to ponder: How had it come to this? In taking the lead again as the standard bearer for patient abuse, I was confronted with my failures to effect any change in my former unit. Since getting out of grad school, my life purpose was to make a difference in the lives of others. How did I get so far off course?

Only a short time ago it seemed, I was counseling individuals and couples in my private office. I felt deeply fulfilled in doing important work. My clients navigated their lives more functionally as an outcome of our counseling encounters. After a brief hiccup in a questionable PHP agency, there was my challenging work as a cancer support group facilitator. And then nearly two years counseling at-risk youth in a children's program that deeply valued my contributions. The warmly remembered faces of my kids brought a smile to my face. Those were the good old days.

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