Benton County Inmate Sues Over Food

By Karen Kosko

First posted on 04-28-2008

Broderick Lloyd Laswell is an unhappy inmate. Not so much about his incarceration on murder charges, but because he said he’s lost over 100 pounds as a result of the jailhouse menu. It’s got him so upset he is suing the county.

Laswell, who is now down to 308 pounds, weighed in at 413 pounds when he was jailed last September. In the federal lawsuit he filed, Laswell complained that the jail fails to provide inmates with enough food.

In his complaint, Laswell wrote: “On several occasions I have started to do some exercising and my vision went blurry and I felt like I was going to pass out. About an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again.”

The inmate does, however, admit he takes on little physical activity but in his lawsuit he reasons: “If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for physical exercise, we should not lose weight. The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death.”

Aramark Correctional Institution Services prepares the meals and says they average 3000 calories each. U.S. diets typically vary between 2000 and 3000 calories.

The suit, filed without benefit of an attorney, also asks the county to begin serving hot menu items.

Laswell and his co-defendant are charged with fatally beating and stabbing a man before setting his house on fire.