Inmates in Florida are suing their jail for not providing them with dental floss.
Joel Flores, 23, and three fellow inmates at Palm Beach County jail have filed civil lawsuits over the last month against Sheriff Ric Bradshaw claiming the jail is not giving providing them with the tools for proper hygiene.
On October 1, Flores, who has been charged with 10 crimes in the past 12 months, filed his lawsuit claiming he suffers from discomfort, tooth decay, pain, and oral abscesses as a result of not being given floss.
Fellow inmate, 44-year-old Juan Perez has also filed a suit claiming his loose teeth are on the verge of falling out as a result of “extreme plaque.” Perez is in jail for selling cocaine.
Typically, inmates are not given floss because it can be used as rope or a turned into a weapon.
Sheriff Bradshaw responded to the lawsuits via the Sun Sentinel saying, “I don’t care if they file 400 suits, they’re not getting it. This isn’t the Ritz-Carlton.” Adding, “We’re not going to give them something that could easily be turned into something else.”
Interestingly, October is National Dental Hygiene Month.
The other lawsuits were filed by Paul Lentvorski, who is in jail for assault with a deadly weapon, and Julius Rocker, who allegedly walked into a market in 2009 and opened fire.
R. Scott Chavez, vice president of National Commission on Correctional Health Care, says it is unlikely the men will get anything, pointing out that floss “is not a high priority need” and there is no law requiring jails to provide dental floss.