Inmate alleges jail conditions inhumane

by Sarah Fay Campbell

An inmate at the Coweta County Jail has filed a suit in Coweta Superior Court alleging inhumane living conditions and cruel and unusual punishment because of the actions of another inmate in the same living quarters.

James Stephens says in his filing that he filed several grievances through the grievance procedures at the jail, and had his mother call the jail several times, without any response.

Stephens says that fellow inmate Chris Harper throws feces and "we have to eat our food with feces all over the floor." He said Harper also beats on the bed at night and no one can get any sleep. He adds that Harper "has charges for throwing feces on officers." There is a camera in the dorm room, according to Stephens.

Stephens alleges in his filing that his Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment are being violated. "I do not have a livable quarters," he said, with feces and bodily fluids that could carry disease.

Stephens states he would like to be paid for his pain and suffering, because "I might end up with later health problems because of this" and for the county jail to abide by state laws.

Officials with the Coweta County Sheriff's Office said they could not comment because of the litigation.

Stephens' complaint was signed Oct. 6. According to the Coweta County Superior Court, the case was filed this Monday, Oct. 28. Stephens was granted the ability to file as a pauper.

Stephens, 23, is serving a sentence for simple battery and is set to be released Jan. 30. He is also awaiting sentencing as a fugitive from justice, according to sheriff's office records.

Harper, 42, is awaiting trial on a number of charges including first degree burglary of a dwelling with forcible entry, terroristic threats and acts, simple battery, reckless conduct, obstruction of officers and criminal interference with government property. His bond is set at $75,000.



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