Miami Herald profile:
Harold Hempstead is a man with two conflicting narratives. One is a criminal past that sent him to prison for life. The other, a courageous pursuit of justice that has shaken the corrupt and crumbling foundation of Florida’s prison system.
Hempstead didn’t set out to be a hero and, perhaps to some people, he isn’t a hero at all. But it is likely that no one would have ever known about the death of a mentally ill inmate named Darren Rainey, or about the systemic culture of physical and mental abuse of inmates in Florida prisons, had it not been for Hempstead.
Hempstead’s steadfast determination to expose the monstrous acts he says he witnessed ultimately brought about an overhaul of the prison system, the firings of top corrections officials and officers, federal arrests and an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Hempstead did all this from a prison cell — and in spite of threats, intimidation and a haunting fear that one day he would suffer “an accident” and never wake up.