2016-02-04 22:51:47

How Long Did Flint's County Jail Inmates Drink Poisoned Water?

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we hear from some of hundreds of prisoners in the Genesee County Jail in Flint, Michigan, who have had no option but to drink and shower in the contaminated city water. In October, after Flint’s newly elected Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency over high levels of lead in the city water, the jail briefly switched to distributing bottled water. But five days later, the jail switched back to the city supply after the sheriff said a water quality test showed the water was safe. Finally, last Friday, the jail again switched to using bottled water. We hear the voice of former Genesee County Jail inmate Jody Cramer, who was just released from jail this week after serving two months. While inside Genesee County Jail, Cramer worked as a trustee in the kitchen and helped distribute food and, more recently, bottles of water to other inmates. He says that once water distribution began this past Friday, he was instructed to distribute two 12-ounce bottles of water twice a day to inmates—or a total of 48 ounces per day. That’s less than half the amount of water the Institute for Medicine recommends adult men drink daily. Cramer also says there are a number of pregnant women in the jail and that they, too, were drinking the tap water up until last Friday’s switch. Lead poisoning puts pregnant women at risk for miscarriages and can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and nervous system of newborn children.

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Flint Water Crisis Mass Incarceration Water Crisis

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