Former inmates of a St. Louis jail filed a federal lawsuit on Monday that alleged subhuman conditions at the facility, including being served food contaminated with rodent feces, the Washington Post reported.
“I felt like I was treated like a dog. Dogs get treated better, to tell you the truth,” said James Cody, one of the plaintiffs, according to the Associated Press.
Cody, 43, stated at a press conference that he often found mouse feces in cake served at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution–dubbed “The Workhouse.” He recalled that the jail staff would scrape off the droppings and serve the cake anyway. His overcrowded dorm included 69 other inmates—all of them sharing one toilet, sink and shower. ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit organization, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cody and six others. They seek monetary damages and closure of the facility.
A spokesman for the St. Louis mayor’s office denied that conditions at the jail are poor. He said the city’s health department inspects the facility several times each year, and preventive maintenance is done routinely.