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Feds Investigating Abuse Allegations at Florida Women’s Prison


On August 8, the Miami Herald covered an important U.S. Department of Justice federal civil rights investigation into various abuses—including sexual misconduct by correctional officers—at Lowell Correctional Institution in Florida.

The investigation comes after years of complaints and exposes involving current and former inmates describing serious abuses, including officers forcing inmates to have sex with them in order to obtain necessities, such as toilet paper.

Horrific Abuses Described

Additional complaints lodged by inmates included:

  • Flagrant sexual extortion;
  • Guards smuggling in illegal contraband;
  • Poor medical treatment, including inmates going untreated for long periods of time and developing serious complications (and sometimes even dying as a result);
  • Use of excessive force against inmates for minor infractions, such as talking;
  • A history of officers forcing the female inmates to engage in degrading acts, such as exposing themselves;
  • Retaliation against inmates who speak out, including some form of confinement;
  • Officers spitting on inmates and slamming them into walls; and
  • Officers destroying inmates’ personal items, such as family photos; amongst other serious allegations.

A Chance to Weigh In

As part of its investigation, the Department has invited the families of current inmates and former inmates to a meeting on August 19 at 4pm, located at Marion Baptist Association in Ocala, Florida. It has also invited these same community members to submit comments concerning these issues at Lowell to community.lowell@usdoj.gov.

What About Suing?

It is your legal right to sue officials (both federal and state) for the deprivation of your rights, privileges, or immunities, as secured by the Constitution and federal laws. However, the Prison Litigation Reform Act requires that a prisoner bring no action with respect to prison conditions until such administrative remedies (also known as grievance procedures) are exhausted. In addition, the “three strikes rule” bars a prisoner from bringing a civil action or appeal without paying the filing fee if that prisoner has brought an action or appeal  in a court that was dismissed for being frivolous, malicious, or for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, on three or more prior occasions. 

Contact Our Florida Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorneys

Working with an experienced civil rights attorney to bring claims like these is essential, as you have to provide a significant amount of information and specifically plead what rights have been violated, and how, by whom, as well as the facts underlying your claims. This also involves providing very specific information concerning any injuries you have sustained and what medical treatment you are receiving as a result.

If your civil rights have been violated, contact the Baez Law Firm in Florida today to find out how we can help. This includes addressing any past grievances that you or a loved one has experienced because of abuse and civil rights violations in Florida prisons.



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