Fourteen inmates sue Maury Co. sheriff

A U.S. District Court judge gingerly stepped over a puddle of sewage as he took a look inside the Maury County Jail to see for himself the conditions 14 inmates are alleging violate their eight amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

The tour of the jail’s housing quarters, kitchen and recreation area, led by Maury County Sheriff Enoch George, was held amid a pre-trial conference Tuesday.

Twelve civil lawsuits, filed by the inmates against George and, in some cases, Jail Administrator Lt. Debra Wagonshutz, allege that the jail has been negligent in its food preparation, sanitation, medical services, bed space and pest control, according to courtroom testimonies delivered Tuesday.

No cameras were allowed inside the facility.

Standing water pooling in front of ground-floor cell doors could be observed in the maximum security area of the jail.

Inmates crowded around their cell doors’ small windows to display open wounds on their arms — spider bites left untreated, even after they asked to see a doctor, they said. Shouting for the touring group’s attention, bed mats stained with white and brownish substances, saying their sleeping surfaces were covered with mold.

Standing water could also be seen in front of the maximum security showers.

The judge quietly peered into each shower, where air vents and floor drains could be seen either covered in lint or rusted to the point of decay. White streaks and clumps of hair marred the showers’ gray-blue walls.


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