Letter to Commissioner Thomas Turco

Thomas A. Turco III
Office of the Commissioner
Central Headquarters
50 Maple Street, Suite 3
Milford, MA 01757-3698

Dear Commissioner Turco,

We call on you today to immediately and effectively address the environmental crisis in MA prisons. As you know from multiple Department of Environmental Protections (DEP) orders, there is a longstanding toxic water problem at MCI Norfolk; we also know from prisoner accounts and further reports that toxic, unhealthful water is a widespread problem in many of our state prisons.

Therefore, the #DeeperThanWater coalition calls upon you to immediately provide all MA prisoners with clean, safe, sufficient, and healthy water within health standards. Until that is accomplished, we demand that prisoners be provided 6 bottles of water per day at no cost, and receive back pay for all water bought at commissary from January 2011 through the present.

The MA DOC’s failure to address this environmental crisis statewide is an example of environmental racism, demonstrating a blatant disregard for the health of communities of color. The public health implications of incarceration and fundamentally racist nature of prisons and police indict this outdated institution. Below, we offer you a path to addressing the immediate crisis and the problems of incarceration in MA:

  1. Immediate provision of clean, safe, sufficient, and free water for drinking and daily use to all prisoners in MA
    1. Unless and until DOC provides clean, safe, sufficient, and free water re-institute furlough programs and/or release all affected prisoners
    2. Ensure the DOC complies with DEP orders to install a filtration system at the well, and take additional measures to ensure clean, sufficient, safe, and free water at the tap.
  2. Immediate end to solitary confinement and similar practices, to allow those prisoners access to clean, safe, sufficient, and free water
  3. Release all prisoners in affected prisons who are held on bail.
  4. Reduce the population of MCI Norfolk and other all MA prisons to originally intended levels, without building more prisons.
  5. End life without parole sentences that in particular subjugate elderly and disabled prisoners to a lifetime of environmental and health hazards.
  6. Restore voting rights to all prisoners in MA
  7. Begin to dismantle all prisons in MA and reallocate funding to addiction recovery programs, mental health services, education, housing, and job assistance.

We will continue to work for the freedom of our people, and look forward to your cooperation.



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