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Hello, there! My name is Bryant Arroyo, currently residing, at S.C.I – Coal Township.
Today, I would like to thank you for the humble invitation to participate and share some insights with all of the Environmental/Social Justice activists.
To give you an idea of where I’m geographically located. I’m in the thick of the Eastern Anthracite Region of Pennsylvania — Northumberland County.
Of course, the geography of prisons shape the lives of those inside and surrounding it in ways affecting our overall health & health risks to the point of developing the insidious monster, I call CANCER! Speaking of CANCER? Did you know that I’m incarcerated in the heart of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, which is considered the No.#1, highest rate of cancer clusters in the Nation surrounded by several state prisons, I.e., Mahanoy, Frackville and where I’m presently housed at, SCI-COAL TOWNSHIP coupled with two federal — Allen Wood and Lewisburg, totaling five prisons located within, this region.
Right now, I would like to take this opportunity to pose a very interesting and peculiar question. Do you happen to know what’s a ‘Superfund Site’?. “A ‘Superfund Site’ is a law that provides money from the U.S. government to clean up areas that have been polluted with dangerous substances, but allows the government to demand money in the court of law from the companies that made the area dirty.” What if, the government knows the land is polluted, toxic, and uninhabitable but intentionally and deliberately refrains from publicly declaring it, as poisoned land? This is the governments biggest secret that the prison industrial complex utilizes to locate & construct the building of prisons throughout the nation. Did you know, 600 U.S. prisons are built on top or, are surround by toxic mine dump sites where profit over the value of human life is heavily emphasized.
The staggering 2.2. million prisoners generating a wealth of revenue, the expense of being housed in federal and state prisons located within,3 miles of a ‘Superfund Site’ — tantamount to a death sentence! This compels one’s conscious to wonder “why” doesn’t the government prevent any prisons from being built on toxic, polluted mine sites?… Pardon me, but, I’m forced to quote the Corporate Raiders/Destroyers reply to the nefarious inactions/actions of the governments failure to identify toxic, polluted and uninhabitable land because, as they state, it is, “Economically Feasible” to build prisons on top of poisoned land sites, instead, of halving to pay to clean it up? Makes dollars and (sense) cents, huh?!
This brings me to share with you, another political economic strategy which benefits their (whites) rural communities — it is called “gerrymandering” that is, “the action of changing the boarders of an area before an election so that one person, group, or party has an unfair advantage.”
As an example, if, I’m from Philadelphia and I’m sent to S.C.I – Coal Township. According to the Census Bureau I would be counted as part of their population -Coal Township for the purposes of receiving government funding for their particular district which benefits their local communities, etc. Just another way, to keep the funds in their pockets, and out from the communities we are from.
What should people outside know about environmental racism in PA prisons? In speaking for the minority majority of the prison population, environmental racism is seen in various forms primarily the form in which people of color are the dominant make up of prisons, herein, lies the issue. We all know, that statistics prove disproportionate impacts of health risks of those amongst communities of color. If blacks and Latinos were incarcerated, at the rate, as their white counter parts, the prison population would decrease an astonishing 40% overall with a number that significant, we can’t turn a blind-eye by permitting the ‘corporate raiders/destroyers’ of mankind to continue to build these prisons on or surrounded by toxic, polluted uninhabitable mine sites.
As a final thought, awareness and education, is the first step to ending environmental racism in prisons because the sad truth is that a great percentage of inmates and even their families lack the awareness of their toxic grounds.
As an environmentalist, I would rather have o e good-eye (conscious), instead of having two evil-eyes that the ‘corporate raiders/destroyers have to continue to build prisons on toxic lands, at the expense and exploitation of the disproportionately black and Latino population.
The Face & Voice – Inside the Nation of Prisoners
Peace & Solidarity
Bryant Arroyo, #CU-1126