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308-pound inmate sues county over jail fare

Bentonville, AR_An inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge is suing the county, complaining he has lost more than 100 pounds because of the jailhouse menu.

Broderick Lloyd Laswell says he isn't happy that he's down to 308 pounds after eight months in the Benton County jail. He has filed a federal lawsuit complaining the jail doesn't provide inmates with enough food.

According to the suit, Laswell weighed 413 pounds when he was jailed in September. Police say he and a co-defendant fatally beat and stabbed a man, then set his home on fire.

"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," Laswell wrote in his complaint. "About an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again."

But Laswell then goes on to complain that he undertakes little vigorous activity.

"If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for physical exercise, we should not lose weight," the suit says. "The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death."

The suit also asks that the county be ordered to serve hot meals. The jail has served only cold food for years.

The meals, provided through Aramark Correctional Institution Services, average 3,000 calories a day, jail Capt. Hunter Petray told The Morning News of northwest Arkansas for a story Saturday.

A typical Western diet consists of 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.

Laswell's suit was filed without a lawyer in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville.

Aramark is one of the world's biggest food service providers and is owned by an investment group led by CEO Joseph Neubauer with financial partners from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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