Inmates in Harvey-Hit Prison Call Conditions 'Obscene'

Despite water, power problems, FCI Beaumont isn't evacuating prisoners
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2017 3:08 PM CDT
Inmates in Harvey-Hit Prison Call Conditions 'Obscene'
Homes are surrounded by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, near Beaumont, Texas.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, refused to evacuate its prisoners Thursday despite concerns about the city's supply of power and running water in the wake of Harvey, saying it had enough food and water to weather the storm, the Houston Chronicle reports. But that's not the story its inmates were telling Friday. "Save me Jesus," a 30-year-old man locked up at FCI Beaumont for cocaine and gun possession said in an email. "I never thought nothing like this would happen in prison." The man said inmates hadn't had a warm meal in nearly six days and one inmate passed out Thursday from malnutrition. He said the water shortages have forced inmates at the 1,800-person, low-security facility to use four portable toilets, which are already full.

"We are getting two bottles of water a day thus far," says a 50-year-old Beaumont inmate serving time for fraud. "We are getting three brown bags of peanut butter and bologna a day." He calls the situation "obscene." In response to the inmates' complaints, the Federal Bureau of Prisons stated: "There is ample food and bottled water for inmates and staff." The city has already suffered major shortages of clean running water and power due to flooding, and more flooding is expected, CNN reports. A thousand people have been evacuated from the city's shelters, and the city's Baptist Hospital was also evacuated. A number of other prisons in the area have relocated their prisoners. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says flooding "poses an ongoing threat to Beaumont." (More Hurricane Harvey stories.)

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