A former inmate at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester filed a federal suit in East St. Louis on Nov. 13, against two correctional officers and the warden alleging he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment during his time in prison.
Carl Pierce, 27, was paroled from Menard on Feb. 9, after serving nearly two years of a four-year sentence for aggravated battery in a public place.
Pierce claims when he arrived at the institution in 2005, he was placed into a two-person cell when the correctional officers knew that the other prisoner assigned to that cell was dangerous and likely to cause him harm.
"Plaintiff, after being placed into the above referred two person cell, was threatened and attacked by his cell mate," the complaint states.
He claims he would inform the gallery officer of the threats and physical assaults from his cell mate but his complaints were ignored.
Pierce also claims that on two separate occasions, he gave a handwritten grievance complaining about his unsafe cell placement and after reading the complaint the officer allegedly tore up the grievance and refused to take any action in response to his "legitimate fears of further attacks."
According to Pierce, after two other written complaints that were ignored, including one to the warden, he was attacked by his cell mate on Nov. 10, 2005, and as a result of the attack, he lost vision in his right eye.
Pierce claims he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of rights secured by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by placing him into the two-person cell, knowing of the excessive risk to his safety, and intending that he be harmed by his dangerous cell mate.
He also claims he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment when the officer tore up his grievances, knowing of the excessive risk to his safety, and intending, through his deliberate indifference, that he be harmed by his dangerous cell mate.
Represented by Kenneth Flaxman of Chicago, Pierce is seeking a judgment in excess of $1 million in compensatory damages, costs of the suit and reasonable attorneys fees.
The case has been assigned to District Judge Michael Reagan and Magistrate Judge Donald Wilkerson.