A former state employee has sued Corrections Executive Director Gary W. DeLand, saying DeLand improperly fired him because he stood up for inmates.

In the suit filed in U.S. District Court, Thomas W. Cantrell said he was successfully completing the training for his job as a corrections supervisor when DeLand fired him.Cantrell said that according to DeLand, the primary reason for the dismissal was that Cantrell had misrepresented or falsified information on his job application. Cantrell denied having done so.

"The real reason defendant (DeLand) terminated plaintiff's employment was because plaintiff was an outspoken defender of his own civil and constitutional rights and the constitutional and administrative rights of inmates," the suit said.

Cantrell said he had worked as an inmate advocate before applying for the corrections supervisor job.

In his suit, Cantrell seeks reinstatement as a corrections supervisor with full back pay, a declaratory judgment that DeLand violated his constitutional rights, court costs and attorney fees.