Federal prison accused of piling sandbags around feces-eating inmate instead of treating him

By David Edwards
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 13:26 EDT
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Federal prison officials have agreed to transfer and treat an inmate who was eating his own feces after they were accused in court of placing sandbags around his cell to cover up the smell instead of giving him medical care.

The Atlantic‘s Andrew Cohen reported that Justice Department lawyers showed up in District Court in Colorado on Wednesday but offered little defense against an emergency motion claiming that Jonathan Francisco had been mistreated at the ADX-Florence “Supermax” prison.

The motion noted that Francisco had “displayed a persistent pattern of bizarre and worrisome signs and symptoms suggesting that he suffers from a severe and worsening mental illness” over a period of five years.

Lawyers said that the inmate “spends most of his time standing with his face very near a wall, staring blankly at the surface before him.”

“He also obsessively hoards and handles his own feces, placing it on food trays, rolling it into balls, making sculptures out of it, and smearing it on his walls and sometimes on his body or in his hair,” the document stated. “He has repeatedly defecated in common-use shower facilities, and on at least one occasion has been seen consuming his feces.”

But instead of offering mental health treatment for Francisco, lawyers claimed that the Federal Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) “response to his situation, thus far, has been to occasionally force him into a shower stall, and to pile sandbags outside his door in a futile effort to prevent the overwhelming smell of feces emanating from his cell from spreading throughout the part of the prison where he lives.”

According to Cohen, government lawyers did not offer much of a defense in response, but they promised that Francisco would be moved the federal mental health prison at Springfield, Missouri by the end of next week.

“I thank God for this,” Francisco’s mother, Linda Embrack, told Cohen. “The people said that he was just playing but I knew that he wasn’t just playing.”

[Photo credit: "Young Man In Prison" on Shutterstock]

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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