Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd hit with federal lawsuit over children in jail

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A group of six parents has filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd over conditions in the county jail.

The parents claim the sheriff is illegally housing juveniles in the same building as adult jail inmates.

The Florida legislature passed a law last year that allows counties to do this.  However, the lawsuit claims the practice exposes children to "dangerously violent conditions."

Tania Galloni of the Southern Poverty Law Center said " With no meaningful adult supervision, the children are left at constant risk of physical assault.  Polk County Jail staff have no expertise in dealing with children."

Lisa Jobe has a 15 year-old son in the jail and is one of the parents filing suit. "Rather than look after these kids, the guards at the jail call the children names, let them get into fights, lock them up in small cages and spray them with mace. It's unbelievable," she said.

The Sheriff's Office has called a news conference for today,  but has said in the past it is following state law and decided to move the juveniles to the central jail facility to save taxpayers' money.

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