On this #HumanRightsDay, Sunday, December 10, 2017, #DeeperThanWater is asking you to join us in flooding the email inbox of Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Thomas Turco to demand clean and safe water for everyone incarcerated in Massachusetts. And then follow up Monday, December 11, 2017 with a call-in campaign.
Email template for Commissioner Turco:
Commissioner Thomas Turco, Department of Correction Thomas.Turco@MassMail.State.MA.US I am writing to follow up on a letter that was mailed to you on November 28, 2017 regarding the urgent needs of prisoners currently held in Massachusetts prisons, by members of the #DeeperThanWater Coalition. To date, no reply has been received. As has been expressed numerous times by prisoners, public health and environmental experts – and at times even those employed by the DOC – the water at MCI-Norfolk and surrounding facilities represents a fundamental failure of the Department to live up to its most basic mandate. We know that the DOC also considers the water to be dangerous, reflected by your provision of bottled water to employees and millions of dollars allocated but unspent for the overhaul of the plumbing system. We demand that you release a portion of these funds immediately to provide prisoners with the relief outlined in #DeeperThanWater‘s letter: the equivalent of 6 16.9oz bottles of water per day and back pay to all prisoners who have bought the overpriced water since January 1, 2011. We also want to make sure that you and your officers know that the public is watching; the ongoing retaliation against prisoners inside for talking to the public is an unacceptable act of despotism that must end now. For as long as prisoners are being targeted for standing up for their basic human rights, you will continue to hear from us. Signed, [your name] #DeeperThanWater
Email template for Governor Baker
Call in scripts
Hi, my name is [name] and I live in [place].
I’m calling because last week you received a letter from the Deeper Than Water coalition demanding that the Massachusetts Department of Correction effectively and immediately address the ongoing water crisis in its facilities by providing all state prisoners with clean, safe, sufficient, and healthy water within health standards, and until that is accomplished, provide 6 bottles of water per day to all affected prisoners at no cost, and provide them back pay for all water bought at commissary from January 2011 through the present.
DEP reports and prisoner accounts show the DOC has known about this problem for years. Neglecting the health and safety of MA state prisoners, who are disproportionately people of color, is environmental racism.
Will you commit to this course of action and not retaliate against prisoners through lockdowns, solitary confinement, and cutting off phone access and other resources?
Thanks for your time.
[note their response, and fill our web form saying you called]
Thomas Turco: (508) 422-3330 Bruce Gelb: (508) 422-3495 Charlie Baker: (617) 725-4005
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 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 the 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.