FCI Beaumont low security prison decided, in the wake of the storm and the flooding to Beaumont, Texas, not to evacuate the 1,812 inmates housed there, leading some inmates to complain of inhumane conditions.
Beaumont’s water supply was compromised during the storm, but the prison said in a statement on September 5 that it had enough bottled water and food reserves on site to support its inmates and staff. According to the Houston Chronicle, some of the inmates painted a very different picture of what happened inside the prison after Harvey.
One man recounted extreme rationing of water and unsanitary conditions. He relayed what it was like inside through his daughter.
“We are getting two bottles of water a day thus far. Which is obscene,” the inmate, who is in his fifties, told the Chronicle via email. “We are getting three brown bags of peanut butter and bologna a day. … Keep pounding the social media sites and call Washington, D.C. for the Texas senators, congressman, and attorney general Jeff Sessions who is actually in charge of us. The more information they get the better.”
According to the wife of one inmate, prisoners were stuck in flooded cells for five days while the prison was on lockdown during the storm.
“There is flood water in their cells and they didn’t let them out,” Rachel Villalobos told leftvoice.org, “They were stuck in their cells for five days- cells that were flooded. They were on lockdown for five days. I spoke to my husband the very first time on September 2nd when he informed me of the conditions. August 27th was the last time I spoke to my husband before that.”
Villalobos also told leftvoice.org in the same interview that her husband and several other inmates had resorted to drinking toilet water during this time out of sheer thirst, which may have led to further health problems among the inmates.