Prison Radio
Bryant Arroyo

SCI Frackville’s Flint, MI rampant water contamination.

The captive audience at SCI Frackville erupted with inquiries about the visible and odiferous changes experienced with the running water supply during the week of 6/13/16 through 6/23/16. Water is a liquid that is a major constituent of all living matter. Clean water is vitally essential to everyday life. For example, cleaning, cooking, hygiene and keeping hydrated. The frequency with which this problem occurs will lead any person of reasonable firmness to the inevitable conclusion that either this problem isn’t given the proper and serious attention it warrants or that the maintenance department supervisor lacks the adequate knowledge to tackle the problem.

These are two of the reasons I would like to think about as a possible answer as to why this problem has eluded a permanent resolution, because the third is even too perverse for me to fathom. Flint, MI has struck right in our backyard. Staff members, health care providers, administrators and the maintenance department are conscious about the constant, pre-flushing, filthy water being infiltrated to our water supply. Coupled with that, it has not escaped the notice of those in charge about those inmates that reside here who have severely deficient immune systems due to diseases such as hepatitis A, B, or C, kidney problems, HIV, etc. So those inmates having to drink this contaminated water could be lethal because of an already pre-existing weakened immune deficiency, which in turn prevents their bodies from disposing of toxins, which leads to complications compounding the problem in existence with the current infectious diseases that they medicate daily in order to maintain a balanced immune system. This translates to a higher cost and treatment of those individuals citizens ultimately have to pay for.

Finally, I submit that in the times when the water is visibly dirty, as it was for the entire week, inmates should not be forced to drink the contaminated water while the staff at SCI Frackville is provided bottled spring water, because this practice alone only adds insult to injury, creating resentment and animosity. In light of the clear regard for the staff’s health and blatant disregard for the inmate population’s health and wellbeing, as a human solution, inmates should have the benefit of bottled water, as the staff enjoys, to prevent being infected with some unknown bacteria like polycythemia vera, which may cause some serious and irreparable damage in the long run. Therefore as a practical matter, this problem should and must be addressed without any further delay.

I’d like to pose two questions for you to consider: if you offer a thirsty man or woman a glass filled with clean water and a glass filled with dirty water, there’s absolutely no question which one you’ll drink. But if you offer the inmate population a glass of dirty water and an empty glass, you can already surmise which one. We inmates are forced to drink bacteria infested dirty water. Flint, MI and the residents at SCI Frackville are drinking the same contaminated water. Flint is right in our backyard, and the DOC, DEP, and EPA doesn’t care about us. They are one and of the same.

The voice and the face inside the entrails of the beast in prison nation, Bryant Arroyo, for Prison Radio.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.