Santiago Gomez (Westchester County)
(USA TODAY) - Nearly a dozen jail inmates in New York state are suing the county for $500 million, claiming that the jail's refusal to let them use dental floss has ruined their teeth, The (Westchester) Journal News reports.
Santiago Gomez, 26, who is being held on a gun charges, is lead plaintiff for 11 inmates in the federal suit filed in Manhattan, writes Journal News reporter Jorge Fitz-Gibbon.
"We feel that the Westchester County Department of Corrections is depriving inmates of the use of dental floss, which is causing us cavities," Gomez tells The Journal News by phone. "They recognize the importance of it, that you have to floss, in the regulation manual. They clearly state if you don't floss you're going to get cavities."
Westchester Deputy Correction Commissioner Justin Pruyne tells the newspaper that he cannot discuss details of the lawsuit, but notes that the jail is not required under state regulations to provide dental floss to prisoners.
"That being said," he adds, "at present we are looking into whether there are appropriate items out there in the community that could be used in a jail setting."