Jail inmates sue San Francisco over claims of sewage in their cells

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Jail inmates sue San Francisco over claims of sewage in their cells
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Current and former San Francisco jail inmates are suing the city claiming sewage has been seeping into their cells for years.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- There are 162 current and former jail inmates are suing San Francisco. They claim they were affected by sewage seeping into their cells inside County Jail Number Four at the Hall of Justice.

"The inmates that were in that area were exposed to raw sewage on almost a daily basis, sometimes two to three times a day," said their attorney Stanley Goff.

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Goff said the sewage leak started in January 2017 and continued for almost two years.

Inmate Fabian Johnson was incarcerated from the time the flooding began.

"The toilets were backing up and overflowing with everything you can think of that comes out the human body."

Johnson told us in an exclusive interview that inmates had to endure nauseating fumes and smells while eating their meals in the cells.

"This is not just a civil rights issue, it's a human rights issue. If you treat an animal like this, you'd be in prison," said Goff.

He says the City Attorney has scheduled a mediation meeting over the lawsuit for next week.

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Sheriff Vicki Hennessy previously acknowledged the plumbing problem, by asking the Board of Supervisors to renovate a jail in San Bruno so she could move the prisoners from County Jail Number Four. She says her proposal had no support.

The Sheriff's office now says the sewage problem has been resolved. The office says it ordered two garbage-disposal type machines called "muffin monsters" to prevent the blockages.