DeeperThanWater is a coalition of organizations dedicated to exposing the rampant human rights abuses that prisoners in the United States are subjected to, using the lens of water justice to highlight the toxicity of the carceral state.
All of the progress that has been made on the ongoing crisis is because of inside organizing. This report was researched and generated by the Norfolk Inmate Council and self-published. This report is what broke the story to the Boston Globe. Organizers inside involved in gathering this data have been heavily sanctioned and had privileges removed. Many were put in solitary confinement (which Mass DOC euphemistically calls “administrative segregation”).
The Boston Globe reported that the DEP has recorded levels above the legal “action limit” 43% of the time [read here], but this doesn’t go deep enough. When controlled by well site, you see that at least one of the wells hasn’t shown a recorded level below legal limits since May 2016.
This is a roughly 3×3 square of cloth cut from a prisoner’s shirt and used to strain water from the tap into a glass for personal use. This reflects the amount of sediment that collects in only 3 days.
This document was photographed in the visiting room lobby of MCI-Norfolk. Signed by Jeff Quick of the Department of Corrections, this shows that lead levels in the “disciplinary unit” (another MA term for solitary confinement) are 4.5 times the legal limit. Copper is as much as twice the legal limit.