Inmate claims jail forced her to lie in human waste for nearly a - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Inmate claims jail forced her to lie in human waste for nearly a week

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WSIL -- A female inmate claims Jefferson County jail staffers forced her to lie and sleep in human waste for nearly a week, while ignoring her repeated calls for medical attention.

The disturbing allegations are outlined in a lawsuit the inmate, Laura Beneway, filed in federal court.

In the complaint, Beneway said her nightmare started on July 4th, the day after she was arrested.

She said she "became ill from opiate withdrawal" and "felt freezing, was sweating and her bones hurt."

Beneway said the nurse did not implement any opiate withdrawal protocol.

She said she later became so sick, she couldn't eat or get out of bed and said her stomach "felt like it was on fire."

According to the complaint, Beneway asked to go to the hospital, but the nurse said she needed to speak to the doctor first and could not be sent out for treatment. 

The next day,  the complaint said Beneway "defecated on herself."

"[Beneway] continued to press the intercom asking for help. She was told by jail staff that they would send someone, but no one came," reads the complaint. 

Beneway claims she remained in her soiled uniform and bed "for approximately six days."

On July 12th, the nurse arrived. According to the complaint, Beneway "had to be showered in a wheelchair, as she was unable to walk on her own."

Beneway said she showed the nurse the sore on her left buttock that had developed over the last several days.

Beneway said the nurse responded by saying "we will have to keep an eye on that."

On July 13th, Beneway said she was finally taken to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with a stage two bed sore, which she is still recovering from. 

Jefferson County, Jefferson County Sheriff Travis Allen, and several staff members, including a nurse and doctor, are named in the suit.

"Each...acted willfully and wantonly, maliciously, and with a conscious disregard and deliberate indifference" to Beneway's rights, read the complaint.

The suit also alleges Allen failed to properly teach and train correctional officers on how to care for inmates suffering from opiate withdrawal and failed to properly staff the jail with qualified medical providers.

It's not the first suit filed against Jefferson County jail officials for medical mistreatment this year.

In June, another inmate, Joshua James Hart, filed a federal suit against the jail.

Hart said jail staff left wounds on his arm exposed and didn't give him his prescription medication to control his seizures.

According to court records, Hart, who remains in jail, has been unable to find an attorney to take his case and is representing himself.

Beneway was released from jail in July, but was arrested again in late November and is currently back in the jail.

Her lawsuit was filed in United State District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on November 6th.

Her attorneys did not respond to News 3's request for comment on Thursday.

Sheriff Travis Allen and the attorney who represents him and the other jail officials named in the suit said they could not comment on pending litigation.

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