The nation’s eighth largest jail system in Miami-Dade County has used excessive force on inmates and given them inadequate medical care, Reuters reports. The U.S. Department of Justice released the findings on Monday after a three-year probe into the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department, which houses an average of 7,000 inmates. “Prisoners have suffered grievous harm, including death,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. “The systemic failures of the jail facilities have resulted in prisoners living in inhumane and shocking conditions.”
The Justice Department said the jail system was “deliberately indifferent to the suicide risks and serious mental health needs” of inmates. At least eight have committed suicide since 2007, officials said. The probe also found that officers used excessive force, openly engaging “in abusive and retaliatory conduct, which frequently causes injuries.” The government made a number of recommendations for improvements and said if conditions don’t change, it may sue the county under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement he was deeply concerned about the findings and would review what progress had been made to deal with the problems identified.