First hand acknowledgement about Hobby Woman Unit in Marlin Texas, poor air circulation, medical care and service and poison water. In 2003 I was introduce to Hobby Hotel know as 76661 the hell pit. As stated in my research First hand, information and information from inmates that has been document in court filing. Hobby Unit was a place inmate died or wanted to die by the hands of other are taking their own lives. The prison were overcrowded and understaffed it was known that the staff did not care what happen to the inmates. The Staff were there just to get a paycheck.
The officer would write violation “Case” against the inmate just because or should I say they have power over the inmate. Having cases against you would cause you to lose you commissary rights, your visitation rights and causing you to be lock down in single or a two men cell. These cells were a hell holds no air circulation no medical treatment inmate die because of the treatment of the justice system. The custody levels were close and middle. If you were in closed custody you would only come out your cell for a shower and you would be handcuff tell you were lock into a shower. It was like an animal shelter there were not quite moment in that place.
The only time the officer would come into the cellblock were to feed or if they were force to assistant. If the inmate needed medical attention or help from beaten to death by another inmate or hanging themselves, the officers would not open the door to the cell tell higher-ranking officer with a video camera was there. We are talking about human not animals. Inmates are being treated as if they were animals. Inmates were getting sick from the water that were causing life threaten illness, if the water or inadequate medical treatment did not kill them. There were reports of other inmates, officer or inmates taking their own life. It was just a normal day at Hobby Hell. Hobby Unit, women’s facility in Texas. The problem with water contamination is an ongoing problem. The EPA report of August 5, 2004, based on the data extracted July 17, 2004. shows that the water being used for showering, cooking, and drinking, is contaminated and has been tested positive with the contaminate Atrazine.
There are no purification methods for these women inmates. Potential short-term health effects from Atrazine that the EPA has documented when people are exposed for short periods are congestion in the heart, lungs and kidneys, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, weight loss, damage to adrenal glands. Long term Atrazine has the potential to cause the following effects from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: weight loss, cardiovascular damage, retinal and some muscle degeneration, and cancer. Inmates and families of inmates are complaining they are in ill health and suffering from heat exhaustion, only adding to the problem. There is lack of ventilation bringing the temperature to 120 degrees inside the cellblock, unsanitary conditions, sleep deprivation, and the contaminated water the inmates being forced to drink due to fresh bottled water being short in supply, and not available to all inmates. The prison official should be appalled by the lack of humane treatment, and ongoing medical problems due to contaminated water within the Hobby Unit.
This matter should be investigated, and a suitable solution be made at once. Inmates are human beings and incarcerated for rehabilitation, not to be abuse or mistreated. There is a need to provide bottled water for all inmates and adequate medical care. This is a need and a must. These problem are serious and should be dealt with and taken very serious. This is an emergency; inmates are dying at and in the hand of our Justice Systems. The water at the women’s prison has been sited 180 times since 2001 and the problems still exist along with other outstanding alleged violations and 10 alleged violations, which were noted and yet to be resolved. The women locked in the Hobby Unit in Marlin Texas in the heat of the southern summer have been getting extremely ill from the water supply inside that unit.
This has been going on for years. Officials deny this accusation and insist that bottled of water can be purchased. However, no one can carry enough bottled water to their cubicle to last the two weeks between commissary visits. The space is limit in your cell to house all of your personal supplies. Not everyone can afford to buy water. These women “have” to have water! Commissary is a joke just another way for the state to make money but not help the helpless. There is no air condition in the hot Texas summers and the heat does works during the winter. Again, the official will say you can purchase a fan but not everyone can afford to buy fans. For the state to issue an inmate a fan the inmate must not have any money on their account for at least six months and no prison policy violations against them. It can take up to week’s even months to receive a fan. Inmates have died from heat stokes waiting on the Justice system to do their job.
The following statements are taken from court records pertaining to a lawsuit that was filed by Helen Ann Caples, an inmate at the Hobby Unit, which is a women’s prison located near Marlin, Texas: “For the last several years, Marlin’s water has been contaminated. In 2003, our drinking water was determined to be contaminated; the offenders of Hobby Unit were restricted to using three six-ounce cups of water per day for all purposes. Toilet flushes were non-existent for lack of water. “The unit was using portal Johns, but close custody was not allowed to because they could not leave the cell due to their custody it were not consider important. The toilet in the cells backed up with urine and feces while fowl flies, and gnats had started to surface due to the toilets not being flushed. It was like this for four to five days.
Three-minute showers or no shower but once a week were added later. All this happened in 2003, but the problem originally began years ago. “This contaminated water should only be used — if they just have to use it at all — for the purpose of showering and flushing toilets. A better filtration system for our drinking water is the only solution to this problem, and according to risk manager Emily Davidson, this [filtration system] has been a long anticipated solution to be installed in the near future. [Note: A water-polishing unit supposedly cured the contamination problem, but a risk management official has recently admitted to Caples that more filtration is needed! Until that extra filtration installed, the Hobby Unit inmates remain exposed to contaminated water.]
In August of 2004 [note: the temperature was running anywhere from 100 to 106 degrees every day at the time] offenders at the Hobby Unit went through several boil water issues. Some [boil alerts] lasted an entire month. Nevertheless, TDCJ officials claimed there was nothing wrong with the water. [Note: there were six suicides and four deaths due to heat-related illness that same summer.] However, there is more wrong with the habitat here at the Hobby Unit than just the water. “In April 2006, a woman that I know died. She had colon cancer and lost control of her bowels. Three long-time inmates have cancer: breast cancer; the other two have colon cancer and have to wear diapers. A different inmate has fibrosis. All these women are in their early 40s.
There are problems with H-pylori that many inmates have acquired while serving time here at the Hobby Unit. H-pylori are bacteria found in the stomach and known to cause ulcers. Here recently, inmates have blood in their urine, complicated by a high white blood cell count that causes cancer. All this happened since incarcerated at the Hobby Unit.” “Besides all that above stuff, our showers also have worms [maggots] that turn into flies on the floor along the shower stalls. In the winter, rats run from cell to cell looking for food, and roaches and water bugs are always in our cells. The chow hall has birds that fly in and out, and bird droppings on the tables and floors. (12-7-05) Ms. Franzoni [a field boss] was working the chow hall when a bird flew in through a window near the ceiling and broke its neck. Ms. Franzoni picked the dead bird up as if it were OK.
No one seems to think there is anything wrong about birds flying in and out of the chow hall. However, birds carry lice, and some carry a kind of bird flu. Yet the doors to the chow hall stay open and the birds think it is a big barn with lots of food in it. Some visitors (ACLU) were on the unit and they observed the birds flying in and out of the chow hall. However, they were just like the Hobby Unit staff and COs and did not see anything wrong with it either.” “Dealing with the water issue and the prospect of [related] future health problems makes it scary enough in here without having to deal with worms [maggots] in the showers and birds flying in and out of the chow hall. (May 26, 2006) During chow time, a bird flew across the table of Nicole Williams and another inmate and did his business [pooped] on the table. A kitchen worker halfway cleared the table with a kitchen rag, but Lt. Scott would not let us move to another table. He gave us the option to either set back down and eat or get the hell out.”
(Helen Ann Caples 2003) The sworn affidavit of inmate Jessica Garza #1293892 reads as follows: “I have dizziness, bad headaches, and it makes me really sick to my stomach when I drink this prison tap water. I believe there needs to be something done about this water.”(Garza, J 2005, May 5) The sworn affidavit of inmate Kelley Courtney [no number available] reads as follows: “The water here at the Hobby Unit makes me really sick at times. I keep a bad headache at all times.
There are reported stomach virus, diarrhea, and bad stomach cramps. It gets to the point that I feel as if I am dying. Within the last two years, inmates have found out they have over-active thyroid problem. I did not have this problem in the free world. I really feel that the drinking water is causing many of my health problems. The doctors have recently found a lump on my right breast that could be cancer. I am not sure at this point, but Lord knows this water is killing many of the inmates. Could this water be the reason that we feel dizzy and try to pass out all the time? Lord help all to be set free of this distasteful water.” (Courtney, K 2005, June 6)
For Immediate Release, as of November 27, 2006
By Helen Caples
“I’ve heard that only a strong prison reform movement can win and enforce significant legal victories. Nevertheless, the prison reform movement can also benefit from court action to build its political strength. A well-publicized lawsuit can educate people on the outside about conditions in prison. The struggle to force a court order can play an important role in political organization both inside and outside prison. Favorable court rulings backed up by a strong reform movement can convince prison staff to hold back so that conditions inside prison are a little less brutal.
The inmates of the Hobby Unit are being exposed to contaminated water, and the results are CANCER: stomach and colon cancer. Moreover, nothing is being done about it because inmates’ lives mean nothing to the TDCJ officials who have charge of their confinement. All that matters is seeing to it that we serve our time, and controlling us until we die. In addition, many of us are, in fact, actually in the process of dying a little more each day that we spend in Hobby Prison Hell. I hope and pray that this press release is more than just acknowledged; I pray that someone can please help us.”(Caples, H 2006, November 27) Respectfully Submitted, For Immediate Release, as of November 27, 2006 By Helen Caples
Helen Caples #535949
742 FM 712
Marlin, TX 76661
In solidarity with the women of the Hobby Unit, Tom Hardin, Texoma Coalition, Oklahoma City Office Marlin Texas – Hobby Women’s Prison – Letter writing campaign to TCEQ Water was brown and causing cancer and lots of sickness. There are many women in this prison unfortunately, in December 2007 TCEQ received another letter (see below) highlighting that further accounts of sickening water and further underscoring that this fight is not over.
She has been serving at this prison for some time now – at least 5 years. She has known that tetrazzini is in their water. She stated they are testing water at Hobby Unit every day but will not let the inmates see the results of the tests, although she claims that she has seen some of the information. She claims that at least four healthy women that she knows of have been to the hospital for passing out. At first, it was thought that perhaps she was exaggerating or that it could be something else but after reading your letter, it sounds so much worse than she knew. Robin Head wrote: From: “Robin Head”
Subject: RE: Hobby Water Suit
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 12:17:09 -0700
Robin Head writes, “She was on the Hobby unit when the water went bad at the Hobby unit in Marlin, Texas in 2001. Signs were posted on all dorm walls that read, “Unknown Bacteria in the water” and instructed us not to drink the water.” Sealy Hospital, Gastrology Department called it IBS from an unknown source and put me on Nexium for 2 yrs., after moving to Nevada the Dr. has me on Zelnorm. It is impossible for me to hold a job due to this persistent and frequent illness. There does not seem to be a cure just a lot of daily band aides for life I guess. Robin Head June 27, 2006.
Quoting with permission from the letter of Helen Caples now incarcerated in Hobby Unit, Marlin Texas. “My name is Helen Ann Caples and I’m litigating Pro Se. I filed a civil action suit against the mayor of Marlin TX, the Senior Warden, and the former Warden about the contaminated water. I have blood in my urine, painful gastric distress, abnormal pap smears, muscle spasms and other symptoms. I received your address from Malissa Hawkins who has had a breast removed. She received your address from Tiffany Brown. ** There is Linda Johnson, she has colon cancer. Debra Dove has fibrosis on her uterus. There are several others. This case needs to go public such as press releases.
I wrote to Mr. Ray Hill Prison Radio Talk Show, a State Representative and Texas Cure. I also feel that the contaminated water is coming from Falls Co where there are many cattle feed lots. The EPA and everyone concerned are getting by with all these different kind of permits and people are suffering while government officials are allowed to hide behind these different immunities. Toxicological experts need to be out here running tests on all this wasted that is carelessly being dumped and pumped into our water supply. You can smell the water here and when you drink it, you can taste it and it hits your stomach like lead. This whole unit smells like swamp. ” More information concerning Hobby water
http://members.tripod.com/str8talkin777/ “These are human being slowly poisoned. They cannot pick up their belongings and move to a safer environment. They are wards of the state. How can we allow this to continue?????” (Knueppel. K)
The latest information we have been able to acquire states that plans for the improvements to the water system has been received by TCEQ at the end of 2006. We would like to know if the plans have indeed been approved, and the time-line to implement the improvements. In addition, we would like to know if a plan is in place to test the prison water during the coming months. From Jan 16-18th they ran that chlorine so strong on the 16th it burnt our eyes, throats and more. Then on the 17th, they limited our use of the showers. It was the strongest on the 17th.
You could not shower long because it was so strong it was hard to inhale it for so long. They have the nerve to give it to us to drink at chow knowing how strong it is.” I do not understand why they need this strength of chlorine. She has explained to me that the chlorine is run through the pipes on a monthly schedule. It occurs a little either before or after the 20th of each month. It lasts for three days with the third day being the strongest and then it tapers off. The two statements that I sent to you last night confirm Aleshas reports.
Texas Commission of Environmental Quality regulated standards. 1) Kathleen Knueppel who runs an organization called Humane Treatment 4 Human Beings contacted GPTX to bring our attention to the plight of women in the Hobby prison to get uncontaminated and drinking water, which does not cause them to get sick. The Hobby Prison is located in Marlin, Texas appr. Two hrs from Austin just east of Waco and Temple. The city has been having bouts with a bad water supply for years and while those outside the prison can find some reprieve in bottled water, the bottled water inside the prison is costly for prisoners but cheaper for guards to purchase inside then outside. She has collected over 20 statements form prisoners detailing these conditions and she sent me a letter from Isaac Jackson from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which itemizes violations of the Marlin water supply June2001, Feb2002, Sep2002, Nov2003, Apr2005, Nov2004, and Oct2005.
The city has 14 violations from TCEQ and in May 2006, a meeting determined that the city needed major capital funding to bring it into compliance. The city obtained $1M grant and $11.6M loan to convert the old treatment plant to a modern membrane filtration system, add pumping capacity and to construct an additional water tower. The loan is contingent on design approval, which was supposed to have occurred Oct 1 2006. After which, they estimate it will take 18 months for the construction project to complete. As best I can tell, the design is still outstanding. There were water tests done at Hobby, which reportedly were normal in December, but they were not done in the summer nor during one of the frequent water boil bands.
January 1, 1998, a state law went into effect that requires the department of criminal justice to collect a fee from each offender who requests a visit to a health care provider you will be charged a $3.00 fee for each health care visit that you request. You make such a request by completing and submitting a sick call request form, by requesting a staff member to provide assistance in accessing health care services or by reporting to the health care facility and requesting health care services as a walk-in patient.
The fee will be charged to your trust fund account. If there is not enough money in your trust fund account, the law requires that 50% of each deposit to your fund be applied to the amount owed until the total amount is paid.