Maury Co. inmates complain of jail conditions - WSMV Channel 4

Maury Co. inmates complain of jail conditions

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COLUMBIA, TN (WSMV) -

A federal judge in Maury County heard testimony Tuesday from a group of inmates who said their rights have been violated.

The inmates are suing the sheriff for what they said is going on inside the county jail, and the judge decided he needed to see for himself.

U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes listened to about seven of the inmates tell similar stories about alleged problems, so he left the bench and went to the jail to check it out.

Haynes paid close attention to the showers and bathrooms and even went inside a pod with convicted felony inmates.

"The judge is listening to some complaints from some of our inmates about some of the conditions in our jail," said Maury County Sheriff Enoch George.

More than a dozen inmates claim George violated their rights. The inmates said the jail is overcrowded, and they believe mold and mildew is growing in the showers, at the base of toilets and on the mats where they sleep.

They also contend inmates are having rapid weight loss because of inadequate amounts of food.

One inmate said he weighed 305 pounds when he was first locked up, but when he was stepped on a scale Tuesday, he weighed 100 pounds less.

"He's going to make a decision after listening to these complaints on whether we go to from there," George said.

The jail has a capacity of 386 inmates, and currently there are 340 housed. Jail officials said some inmates chose to put their mats on the floor rather than sleep on the bunks, so it may appear to some there are not enough beds.

The inmates signed the complaint letter around the same time the jail passed its annual inspection.

Haynes is expected to make a decision at a later date on whether the allegations have any merit.

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