OCALA, Fla. – A Florida prison guard was charged Saturday with pouring bleach in an inmate’s cup after the two argued.
Qualesha Williams, 28, was taken into custody at Lowell Correctional Institution, where she worked, and charged with poisoning food or water. She has been released from jail. It’s unclear if she retained an attorney who could comment on the charge.
According to an interview with an agent for the Florida Department of Corrections, Williams admitted putting a cleaning agent into a cup but said she would never hurt anyone on purpose. The state corrections agency said it obtained video showing Williams arguing with the inmate earlier in the shift, telling the prisoner, “I got something for you,” according to the report.
An officer saw Williams spray bleach on an empty cup while preparing breakfast for inmates, according to the report from state corrections officials. She allegedly told an inmate that the tray of food was special and placed the cup to the side.
The report said Williams volunteered to feed the lower cells of the two-story dormitory. The video shows Williams picked up the food tray and walk past other cells before placing it on a door flap at that inmate’s cell.
The report said Williams could be seen at the food cart close to the inmate’s cell door trying to conceal her activity. The inmate said the cup smelled like bleach and alerted another officer, who agreed.
The Ocala Star Banner reports the prison has had multiple problems with officers and employees in recent years. In August, a federal lawsuit alleges an inmate was beaten by four officers and left paralyzed.