State prison going on a week with water troubles; inmates say living environment hostile

Posted at 9:10 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 08:50:44-04

Reports of unfit water for drinking or bathing at the Dick Conner Correction Center in Hominy has been an ongoing issue for nearly a week.

Inmates inside the facility say there is stagnate toilet water that sits within their cells. It’s an issue that the Department of Corrections called a "crisis situation."

"It's inhumane, you wanting them to just sit there in their own cubicles with their feces just sitting in the toilet," Brigitte Postak, who has loved ones serving time at the DCCC, said.

Water at the DCCC is apparently turned off and some inmates said they haven't been able to shower since Saturday, when the water issues first began.

"The place is … it has a smell," an inmate said. "There's a powerful odor, as you can imagine."

The DOC said 1,306 prisoners and corrections staff are dealing with the water issues.

"First, we had a waterline break on the facility side, and then after that, they had it repaired there was a valve that went out," Alex Gerszewski Public Information Officer for the DOC said. "While they were getting that repaired a waterline broke on the city side."

The department worked to repair these issues and full water pressure was restored to the prison on Tuesday.
However, pressure dropped and city maintenance crews determined it did not have enough pressure in the waterline to fill the DCCC water tower.

Inmates said the water appeared murky and were told it was safe for drinking. The DOC said the water given to inmates in buckets was only used for flushing toilets when water pressure was weak.

"Since Saturday they've given us eight bottles of water," an inmate said. "Today they told us we could go down to our canteen and commissary. They was like [sic] you can go down there and buy four bottles of water and an ice cream."
Families of inmates were upset by this, stating that not all inmates have the ability for family members to add money to their book.

The DOC said they are not aware of this problem, and assured families all inmates have access to drinkable water.

"There's been no reports of any kind of dehydration or any other kind of health related issues pertaining to the water situation," the DOC said.

The families of some inmates said although the Department of Corrections is working to fix the problem, they feel it was not addressed soon enough.

"It was probably a month or so ago at visitation, you could openly see lines of water pouring out into the yard ... brown water," Postak said.

The DOC was not made aware of any issues prior to the waterline break on Saturday.

Since then, the National Guard brought out tanker trucks, each containing 2,000 gallons of water used to pressurize the lines leading to the water tower and to restore the facility.

Meanwhile, all visits to the DCC are suspended while crews work to fix the problem. Water power is expected to be restored sometime next week.

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