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Waste deep in poison with nothing to drink: Federal Prison after Harvey

Gerry Bello

Today is the 8th of September. The conditions reported below were still happening as of the 5th of September. No word has come out of the Federal Prisons in Beaumont Texas since as mail, phone and visits are cut off or severely restricted. Hurricane Harvey has turned the Federal Prison Complex in Beaumont into a slow motion death camp. Other Prisons run by the state of Texas may also be facing similar constructed circumstances.

Jefferson County Texas has a booming prison industry. There are three State Prison Facilities, private prisons, multiple juvenile facilities and of course it's own county jail. On top this multi-island stopover in America's Gulag Archipelago it is home to a three unit Federal Prison Complex consisting of a low, a medium and a high security unit. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons these units are home to a total of 5428 inmates. Those inmates are getting their drink water from the toilets in their cells.

Federal Prison Facilities further away from the epicenter of Harvey's impact were evacuated. Beaumont, which is 90 miles from Houston was not. A refinery is located nearby, as is an “agricultural products” plant operated by BASF. The latter was granted permission by the EPA in March to expand it's manufacturing capacity of Dicamba, a herbicide so toxic it is banned for use and sale in Arkansas and Missouri.

The refinery and the chemical plant flooded and prisoners were locked in their cells 24 hours per day waist deep until September 1st. They were ankle deep in the chemical soup until September 4th in some parts of the facilities. Clean water was rationed and prisoners were alotted 8 ounces per day. This forced them to drink from toilets and urinate and defecate in plastic bags, which were not removed from their cells.

According to Houston Anarchist Black Cross (Houston ABC), a prison abolition organization that maintains contact with prisoners in the facility as best they can “FCI Beaumont Low went on lockdown from Aug. 27 through Sept. 2, when incarcerated persons were let out of their cells for about an hour. Many called outside to talk with family and friends about conditions, and said some cells were flooded, they were not getting sufficient food or water, medicines were not being distributed, and unsanitary conditions persisted due to the inability to flush toilets.”

Power was out at the facility until September 1st. Thus people were kept waste deep in chemical laden water without anything to eat or drink in the dark for four days. Among Houston ABC's demands is “Publicize all data documenting decisions regarding the Hurricane that took place between August 25, 2017 to present” as well as “Resume communications between prisoners and outside supporters, including media.” In order to “Allow reporters to tour facilities to foster transparency.”

So far no media other than this little bird in Ohio have investigated or published on this life threatening issue. Had such a situation happened during wartime the descisions taken by the Federal Bureau of Prisons would have constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity. People in Germany were hung for less in 1946 on the orders and under the laws of the same nation that does this on it's own soil today.

The Mockingbird will continue to cover this story as it developes.