Miami Prisoner Says State Poisoned Him With a Maggot Sandwich

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Last week, a Georgia inmate sued Florida Department of Corrections officials for permanently damaging his stomach and intestines. For about a month during the summer of 2016, Peach State native Marc Caesar worked at a car wash in Doral as part of a work-release program. According to legal documents he later filed, inmates working as part of that program aren't allowed to take lunch breaks on their own — they instead must eat food supplied by the state.

So one day in July, Caeser says, he signed out of work and ate the bag of food the state had prepared for him. He took a sandwich out of a brown paper bag, took a bite, and "noticed a strange taste to the sandwich, but assumed it was due to him smoking a cigar earlier that day."

He then went back to work. He casually mentioned to his co-workers that his sandwich tasted weird. The other inmates in his work-release program were aghast: They had all avoiding eating lunch, they said.

According to court records, one inmate then "showed him his sandwich, and the sight was horrific: Maggots crawling around the sandwich, the meat being clearly spoiled." There was a second sandwich in his brown bag — frantically, he took it out and looked inside. Sure enough, he says, maggots were crawling in that sandwich too.

Within a few hours, Caesar says, he began feeling dangerously sick. He eventually returned to the Miami North Community Release Center, where he reported as part of his work-release program. Guards sent him to a nearby clinic, where a doctor told him he'd contracted food poisoning.

According to Caesar's lawsuit, the culprit was a malfunctioning freezer, which he says officials have still refused to fix. Instead, according to his suit, kitchen staff simply throw away meat as it spoils.

"Upon further inquiry, it turns out that the walk-in freezer was constantly malfunctioning, and the kitchen staff frequently threw away meat products because of this issue," Caesar's suit states. "However, this time, the kitchen staff did not dispose of the meat products, and the result was sandwiches filled with maggots."

Reached via phone, Caesar's lawyers weren't immediately able to comment on the suit last week. But the suit claims Caesar suffered "bleeding in his stool, stomach contortions and other physical changes, and severe sickness that almost killed him."

The suit adds that he has suffered permanent damage because of one maggot-infested sandwich — and warns that, if the issue isn't fixed, other inmates across Miami might be forced to suffer the same fate.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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