Thirty inmates at the Medium Security Institution in St. Louis are attempting to join a class-action lawsuit against the city. Inmates claim they were forced into a “gladiator-style” fight club for the amusement of the guards.
The suit alleges that inmates had to endure assaults, sexual harassment, cover-ups and false reporting of incidents.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Daniel Brown, told the St. Louis radio station KMOX that guards were forcing inmates to fight each other as a means of entertainment. According to Brown, the prisoners who were fighting each other were supposed to be in solitary confinement.
“What was happening was the guards were actually taking inmates out of the cells, placing them in cells with other inmates and forcing them to fight each other,” said Brown.
Brown even has surveillance video showing the inmates and the injuries they suffered as a result of these fights. Two corrections officers, Dexter Brinson and Elvis Howard, were suspended and subsequently arrested for an orchestrated beating, while three others, who have been connected to the crime, have not been fully identified.
According to one of the inmates who was attacked during this beating, guards would allegedly bribe inmates to fight one another, even placing bets on the outcome.
Since the civil lawsuit has been filed, inmates have been speaking out with similar stories of the “Workhouse gladiator” fights. The plaintiffs are seeking $150 million dollars worth of damages from the Workhouse - a nickname for the Medium Security Institution.