Prison advocates highlight water issue at Muncy prison
Updated Oct. 13 (below):
Women incarcerated at State Correctional Institution Muncy near Williamsport have been reaching out to raise awareness about water supply issues at the prison, according to advocates.
Dana Lomax-Ayler used to be incarcerated at SCI Muncy. She is now a prison advocate who runs the Delaware County chapter of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration.
Lomax-Ayler, who speaks with prisoners across the state, said she learned that prison units are being asked to fill up containers from a water storage tank, because their main water source has been discolored since the weekend.
"They were getting brown water through all their sources, all their faucets," she said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections confirmed the water problem, issuing a statement on social media on Tuesday. A spokesperson with the Pennsylvania DOC said that the water issues at Muncy began on Sept. 23.
The DOC said after consulting with the Department of Environmental Protection, SCI Muncy is now providing water coolers on each unit and bottled water with each meal.
"The DEP has advised that the water is safe to use for bathing and cooking," the DOC statement said. "SCI Muncy has been receiving water from Montgomery Borough for the past several months as the facility’s independent water plant undergoes maintenance."
Since earlier this week, advocates have been pushing to make sure those in restricted housing and others with mobility issues receive enough clean water daily with a social media and call-in campaign.
“Sometimes when we don’t have water is the time when we need it the most,” said one advocate who did not want to be named because a family member is incarcerated at Muncy. “These are females, and certainly certain times of the month you need to use more water than at others.”
State Correctional Institution Muncy is one of two all-women prisons in the commonwealth. The other facility, SCI Cambridge Springs, is located in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
She said that an Oct. 3 a notice was circulated by the administration at Muncy, stating that the water was safe to drink. However, she said there was hesitancy about the notice when it was issued.
She also confirmed that during the facility's water issues, water bottles were circulated on trays to those that were not able to leave their cells.