Friday, July 29, 2016

On air and water needs: pets vs. prisoners

Something strange was happening at the prison.

I was at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia yesterday with attorney John Smietanka, hoping to try to help a poor black man who got seriously crapped on by the judicial system.  Unfortunately, we arrived at the prison just in time for the shift change.  Corrections officers were arriving in droves.  I’m a newsman.  I notice little things.  That’s how I helped to inform my community for many, many years.  I mentioned to attorney Smietanka that the officers must be planning an outdoor exercise on this hot summer day.  Each guard was carrying a jug of water.  In fact, the majority of them were carrying gallon jugs. 

We thought no more of it until we had a break in the middle of our legal conference.  “What’s the story with the water,” I asked the prisoner.  “Every CO is bringing in bottles and jugs of water.”  His face turned angry.  “The water here isn’t drinkable,” he said. “You should see it.  It’s brown when it comes out of the tap, and it stinks!  The officers refuse to drink it.  They bring in their own.  We’re the ones stuck with the bad water.”

During the current heat wave, we’re seeing messages on television and on the internet, warning people to take care of their pets, making sure that they get fresh air and adequate water.  It may surprise you to know that prisoners are also struggling in the heat.  We’re reading of serious heat problems in some other states, where it has become a serious health hazard for inmates.  But it’s no picnic here in Michigan, either.  One inmate contacted me yesterday to complain that the officers wouldn’t let them keep the flap open on their food slot, so that more air could circulate.  Don’t wanna make things too comfortable for those bad guys!  And, for some strange reason, water is also bad in some of our facilities.  It may not be tainted with lead, but you wouldn’t want to drink it!

So, if you get a sec today, while in your air-conditioned study or office, say a prayer for prisoners who are struggling with excessive heat and bad water issues.

But when it comes to your doggie, take action.  He deserves better care.

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