- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - An inmate is suing the Washington State Penitentiary over claims that prison officials refused to provide him with dentures after he underwent an operation to have most of his teeth removed.

The Spokesman-Review reports (https://bit.ly/2bit97y ) Jimmy de la Mater’s lawsuit says he suffered intestinal pain after being forced to eat soft food. He’s seeking $15,000 in damages.

De la Mater says he experienced tooth problems months after arriving at the prison in 2013 and that dental staff removed most of his teeth. He alleges officials then refused to provide him dentures because he would be in prison for less than five years.

Attorney Jeffry Finer says the state has since changed its policy, allowing inmates with sentences of at least six months to get dentures.

A prison spokeswoman says the prison has no control over Department of Corrections health care policies. The agency didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com

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