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Lawsuit alleges inhumane conditions at St Francis Co. jail

A prisoners rights group filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that a Missouri jail has been mistreating its inmates, saying deputies have taunted and tortured inmates and that the jail provided so little food that one detainee ate toothpaste and toilet paper to ward off hunger.
The lawsuit by the St. Louis-based civil rights law firm ArchCity Defenders was filed on behalf of Robert Hopple, Stefani Rudigier and Shawn Mesey, who recently were pretrial detainees at the St. Francois County Jail. The lawsuit names the eastern Missouri county, Sheriff Dan Bullock and the former jail administrator, along with the company providing medical care at the jail and a nurse. It seeks unspecified damages.
The lawsuit contends that the actions at the jail “violate basic standards of human decency as well as the United States Constitution.”
Bullock and St. Francois County Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher didn’t immediately reply to phone messages or emails seeking comment. The county is about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis.
The lawsuit cites concerns such as black mold on the walls, frequently overflowing toilets and other inhumane conditions. Hopple, 49, of Bonne Terre, recounts an instance in which his cell was so cold that sewage that had overflowed onto the floor froze.
The lawsuit alleges that food rations were tiny and lacking in nutrients. Rudigier says she lost more than 100 pounds during her nearly two years of incarceration. The lawsuit says deputies would sometimes taunt the hungry inmates by bringing out extra meal packs and offering them up to anyone who could answer a trivia question. If no one answered correctly, the deputies would allegedly throw out the food.
“Mr. Hopple resorted to eating toothpaste and toilet paper to curb his hunger,” the lawsuit states. Hopple alleges that deputies organized “Friday Night Fights,” in which they arranged fights between the inmates.
The lawsuit also questions the medical care at the jail. Among other complaints, Rudigier, 27, of Maplewood, says she was denied mental illness medication for 21 of the nearly 24 months she was incarcerated.
The lawsuit accuses the jail of abusing inmates placed in a restraint chair. It says some restrained inmates were sprayed in the mouth with Mace or punched in the head.
Concerns have been raised before about the jail’s use of a restraint chair. An inmate, William Ames III, died after being strapped to the chair in November 2018.
A 2019 wrongful death lawsuit was filed over Ames’ death.
He was allegedly placed in the chair for more than 24 hours and missed several doses of anti-seizure medication. It also alleged that jail workers were told that Ames had swallowed a bag containing a combination of methamphetamine, cocaine and bath salts, but failed to act.


  1. Anonymous on September 8, 2023 at 10:45 pm

    What about the bed bug that my hubby got bites markes all over and they dont do anything about it how do we get sue them for that and who isnt scared to st Francis court or jàil

  2. Anonymous on July 6, 2023 at 10:55 pm

    i have been an inmate there and they violate rights to inmates.

  3. Anonymous on May 27, 2023 at 6:36 am

    On April 22, 2022 Both my sons were in a car accident. My oldest son was taken into custody instead of receiving medical treatment for the fact he had a warrant for missing a court date and they had already known who my son was. Stories are being told how my son was drug from the cop car and thrown into the holding cell. By April 23 the St Francois Sheriff’s department had to have a Ambulance come and take my son to Parkland hospital from there he had to be transferred to Barnes where on the day of April 24th 2022 I had to take my son off life support because he was brain dead. I’ve been doing my own little investigation into what really happened to my son and have been tracking down people and asking questions. Things just don’t add up. They did something to my son and I will find the truth.

  4. Anonymous on December 12, 2022 at 9:17 am

    I have never been there myself but I have heard some horrid stories including a woman being raped. Someone definitly needs to do something.

  5. Anonymous on December 11, 2022 at 10:01 am

    1 if the top 3 worse jails to be locked up in an trust and believe it’s no Joke!!!!!! Their killing inmate’s by starving them, beating them then they turn inmate on inmate you have to fight to survive it’s crazy!!!!

  6. Anonymous on December 10, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    I too have been there and witnessed the Friday night fights. Saw a guard give inmates cigarettes to beat someone up. I believe today that the problems with my lungs have alot to do with the mold and sleeping on bare concrete floor.

  7. Anonymous on December 9, 2022 at 9:25 pm


  8. Anonymous on December 8, 2022 at 11:05 pm

    I have been incarcerated there a number of times and it is a horrid and very inhumane facility. Don’t get me wrong it’s not supposed to be a vacation or day camp but a person being a detainee should not have to be detained there and have to fear as to if he/she will survive.

  9. Anonymous on December 8, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    This jail has been like this for years now and always gets away with them. They paint over the black mold. Freezing cells some of them . I know of several people that had been locked up there and these stories are true. We need someone that can sue their buts off and clean up the corruption from top to bottom..

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