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Texas Prison Unit Without A/C Now Rationing Water For Inmates

Wikipedia Commons user Piastu

A water supply shortage in the town of Kenedy, Texas is depriving the local state prison of water and creating dangerous condition for the inmates and guards.

In Kenedy, Texas, a town 75 miles southeast of San Antonio, two of the town’s five water wells broke down last week,creating a water shortage for the community and is impacting the nearby John B. Connally Unit prison.

Prisoners have been given a limited supply of drinking water and have had to ration their water, go without showers and are prevented from flushing toilets.

The prison is also not air conditioned, so with current temperatures reaching 100 degrees, prison rights advocates say the situation is unconstitutional.

"It is unconstitutional not to provide inmates with running water," said Michelle Smith with the Texas Civil Rights Project. "They are entitled under the Eighth Amendment to have hygienic and sanitary conditions -- to be able to wash their hands, use the restroom, take showers. As well as their constitutional rights to be free from any conditions that going to affect their health, like heat."

The Texas Civil Rights Project said they have not been able to get reliable information from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice about the water rationing at the prison and that most of their information about the conditions is coming from letters from prisoners.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi