A storm knocked out the water and air conditioning in Florida’s oldest women’s prison this weekend and the headaches have continued ever since. Employees and family members of inmates have come out with stories that women were forced to wash with still toiler bowl water and weren’t getting enough to drink while the damages were being repaired.
The Miami Herald reports that it took 72 hours to finish repairs, but it takes another 72 hours to ensure that the water is safe to drink and wash in before it can be used. Meaning the inmates will have to go a total of six days without running water. Fortunately, the showers are now working.
“I don’t understand why the health department doesn’t get involved,” said one prison employee. “There’s been a constant problem here with sanitation. Toilets that don’t work — sometimes only one works for 160 inmates.”
Lowell Correctional Institution houses more than 2,600 inmates within three buildings. It was first constructed in 1956 and critics of it state that its old age has been an issue long before the recent water pump fiasco. To try and accommodate the inmates, coolers were brought to them every few hours and repair crews worked around the clock. Still, the damage was already done.
“It’s a disgusting mess; the women are living in subhuman conditions,” sand an anonymous female employee.
Lowell is also home to a number of other concerns with the conditions of the inmates. Perhaps this incident will bring some light to them and lead to some necessary changes.