Brown Water At This Prison Is Raising Concerns About Contamination

water tower
Zain Murdock
July 19, 2021

Flint’s water crisis started way back in 2014, when primarily Black residents ended up with a dangerous array of health issues after being supplied with river water. That included incarcerated folks, who were allegedly FORCED to drink it because “jail officials believed [they] didn’t deserve clean drinking water.” 

And it might be happening again.

People imprisoned at Lakeland Correctional Facility have reported drinking and bathing water that’s ranged from brown to yellow to even blue. And while the Michigan Department of Corrections says “there isn’t a problem,” people are saying they’ve been getting sick.

Lakeland’s demographic, largely “elderly and medically vulnerable” folks, makes this problem even worse. A lot of them are still recovering from COVID-19 as it is!

And while prison guards have simply been drinking from bottled water, people incarcerated there say they aren’t even allowed to buy cleaner water themselves.

Detainee James Harden refuses to pretend this isn’t a problem – his own brother died of cancer after drinking prison water reportedly contaminated with insecticide. Despite the sweltering temperatures, he’s forced to suffer: “I’m scared to death, so I just go without water.”

This isn't just a solitary incident – the mistreatment and medical neglect of Black incarcerated people is systemic. Everyone deserves access to clean water. If they're saying they're concerned, we should believe them, even when this system won't!

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