Lawsuit alleges poor dental care in Mich. prisons

A newly filed lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) claims that the state's prison system provides inadequate dental care to inmates, causing them to lose teeth and wait years for dentures, according to a news story on

Filed on behalf of a Michigan sex offender, Robert Johannes, by attorney Daniel Manville, director of the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, and Farmington Hills attorney Robert Gittleman, the lawsuit is seeking class-action status.

Johannes, 73, has had several teeth removed since entering prison in 2008 and requires dentures or partials to be able to chew foods but has been denied requests including one in August 2011 and another in June 2013, according to the story.

"We just want the MDOC to provide proper care," said Manville, arguing in the lawsuit that the deprivation of being able to chew food constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

He added that sometimes inmates have to wait more than two years to receive partials or dentures.

An MDOC spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit, and the department has not yet been served with the allegations.

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