Inmates Sue Over Dental Floss Ban - as part of the news series by GeoBeats.
Do jail birds have a right to use basic hygiene products?
Well, eleven prisoners residing in Westchester County Jail in New York have launched a $500 million civil lawsuit against the county over dental floss.
The inmates claim that they have encountered cavities, bleeding gums and general tooth pain from the lack of floss in the jail.
Many facilities ban dental floss because it could be used as a weapon.
The head plaintiff in the case; 26-year-old, Santiago Gomez states “All the facilities that I’ve been in sell dental floss. They’ve been advised in the grievance procedure here that they have ‘loops’ which are inmate friendly.”
Jail officials claim that they are not obligated by law to provide floss, but in lieu of the court case, they are currently looking into other products that can be used for flossing without the potential risk of them being used as weapons.
Earlier this year, another court battle ensued. 49-year-old, Kenneth Hickman was an inmate at Beeville state prison. Hickman was supposed to sport a beard as a Muslim, but jail personnel demanded that he shave his facial hair.