PASCO, Wash. -

Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim is defending his jail staff against accusations that inmates are treated inhumanely.

He told Tri-City Herald that a lawsuit filed in federal court was based on lies from inmates hoping for a lighter sentence or plea deal.

The lawsuit filed by Columbia Legal Services on behalf of inmates says mentally ill inmates were chained to a fence for days, pepper-sprayed or left unsupervised in restraint chairs.

The lawsuit asks the judge to order jail to stop practices that putting inmates at risk of being hurt.