Email Commissioner Turco:
Call in script
(please see talking points below to help you get ready for calling)
Hi, my name is [name] and I live in [town/state].
I’m calling about the toxic water crisis in MA state prisons. As a concerned citizen/friend/family member of a prisoner in MA, I demand that the DOC provide immediate access to free, clean, safe, sufficient, and healthy water to all MA prisoners and until that is provided — 6 free bottles of water per day, with backpay for water bought at canteen since January 2011.
Given the disproportionate incarceration of people of color, the statewide toxic water situation can only be described as environmental racism causing a public health crisis.
I’m following up on the plans to build a water treatment plant, when will that be completed? Where is it located? How will you be addressing sediment and erosion in the pipes after the plant is completed? Will prisoners who have had to buy water for themselves be repaid?
Thanks for your time.
[note their response, and fill out our web form saying you called]
Thomas Turco: (508) 422-3330 Fax: (508) 422-3385
If they say…
“The water is clean and safe” – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Norfolk Inmate Council, Boston Globe, and [other sources] have all highlighted elevated levels of manganese, iron/rust, sediment, and other contaminants in nearly half or more water samples at MCI Norfolk, while public health experts and prisoner accounts indicate such problems are widespread in MA facilities
“We’re already building it” – Yes, some movement has been made ostensibly to construct a new facility. They were ordered to do this 6 years ago, so everyone is understandably skeptical. Demand that they accelerate the progress. This delay has already caused innumerable health problems and is killing folks inside [see: top images in gallery].
“We’re not racist” – Regardless of intent or personal beliefs, the fact that the MA DOC’s prisoner population is over 25% Black and over 50% people of color when Black people make up less than 8% state population, and people of color less than 20%,, then deprives them of their health, safety, voting rights, and more through poor facilities, bad food, solitary confinement, inadequate health care, etc maliciously targets people of color and their communities.
“It’s not possible” – we know the DOC is capable of providing free bottled water to prisoners. This was done as recently as June 2017 after the release of the Boston Globe article; our demand is entirely reasonable.
“Where did you hear about this?” – #DeeperThanWater coalition outreach, the Boston Globe, Spare Change News, etc
For news sources: see our press page.