Thursday, September 5, 2019

Saturday protest planned outside Florida prison where mentally ill woman was allegedly beaten by guards

Posted By on Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 5:16 PM

  • Photo of Cheryl Weimar via attorney Ryan Andrews
One of the largest women's prisons in the nation is here in Florida, and inmate advocates say it's also the scene of one of the worst prison beatings in recent history.

According to a lawsuit filed against the Florida Department of Corrections, Cheryl Weimar, a mentally ill woman at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida, was beaten so badly by guards last month she became a quadriplegic.

The most recent allegations at the long-troubled North Florida prison sparked a protest, set to take place Saturday morning outside the facility.

Debra Bennett, a former inmate released last march, is organizing the action with a number of groups. She formed her own inmate advocacy group, “Soldiers on the Inside, a Force on the Outside,’’ upon her release.

"When I heard about this last beating it was just too much," Bennett said by phone. "I'm not a crier, prison took that away from me, but I cried."
Lowell Correctional Institution is no stranger to excessive use of force allegations.

A Miami Herald investigation looked into subpar conditions at the prison, "including rats, roaches inadequate healthcare and staffers who force inmates to exchange sex for protection from other officers and to have access to basic necessities, such as sanitary napkins and toilet paper," the paper stated.

The prison is already the subject of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Here are the details of the protest:
• Saturday, September 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Roadside of Lowell Correctional Institution, 11120 NW Gainesville Road, Ocala, FL 34482

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