Thousands of federal prisoners were left locked up in prisons like caged animals while Hurricanes Irma and Harvey raged. Most inmates in state prisons in Texas and Florida were evacuated to “safety.”
But none of those incarcerated in federal prisons were safe.
Federal Bureau of Prisons Under Investigation
Former green jobs adviser to former President Barack Obama and CNN political commentator, Van Jones, is taking up this seeming injustice. He is backed by Jessica Jackson Sloan, Mayor of Mill Valley in California, to advocate for prisoners’ safety in natural disasters.
Both Jones and Sloan insist prisoners were subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of human rights if they were not evacuated during hurricane storms.
Caged Animals in Zoos Were Evacuated To Safety, but Not Human Prisoners
Jones and Sloan stated in a CNN report that:
“Zoos were responsibly staffed or dutifully cleared. Animal shelters pleaded for the safety of stray cats and dogs. Hundreds of Florida horses were relocated. Dolphins were airlifted to safety.”
The reasoning here is that if the American people could be so concerned about the safety and well-being of animals and fish – to be point of evacuating them to safety before the hurricanes hit, what about human prisoners?
Caged animals cannot get out of harm’s way before and during hurricanes, but so are locked up prisoners.
No American Jury Would Sentence Anyone to Die Of Hunger and Flooding
The American Constitution provides for both the free and the incarcerated. The Constitution seeks to uphold the fundamental human rights of both the free and the imprisoned.
To this extent, no American jury would ever approve of any inmates dying of hunger or in a flooded cell; or without medications. This would amount to “cruel and unusual punishment” for prison inmates.
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Investigations revealed that about 2,109 inmates in a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas were abandoned during Hurricane Harvey. Locked up prisoners endured the rising floods in their cells. And they coped with the smell of feces from broken sewage and toilets in their cells.
Many defecated in plastic bags since they couldn’t leave their cells; and many lacked drinking water. There was also serious power outage and prison inmates endured the most agonizing experiences while the hurricanes threatened.