Access to water is a human right, but people residing in the Stateville prison do not have access to adequate clean water. According to inmates, the tap water is brown and smells like sewage. On Dec. 7, 18 community organizations traveled to Stateville prison to protest this unconstitutional situation, including the following:

The Community Renewal Society, Rev. Otis Moss III and Trinity United Church of Christ, A Just Harvest, The People’s Lobby, Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Torture Justice Center, The Hampton House, Sen. Robert Peters, Charlene Carruthers, and many others.

In an article titled, “Chicago faith leaders protest prison treatment at Stateville Correctional” from the website, Suburban Chicagoland, Cassandra Greer, founder of the Justice for Nickolas Lee grassroots organization, said, “Water is a human right. Why is this an issue when the Illinois Department of Corrections has a budget of 1.5 billion dollars? … This water crisis has been going on for over two decades. We have a recording of a gentleman inside saying this has been going on since he’s been in there. He got in there 24 years ago.”

On Jan. 4, the Speaker of the Illinois House, Chris Welch, and the President of the Illinois Senate, Don Harmon, met online with the Oak Park chapter of Indivisible. Both Welch and Harmon said they had not been aware of the water crisis at Stateville, and they both promised to look into the problem.

If you get a chance, please be sure to thank them and express your belief that access to clean water is a human right, no matter how many mistakes someone may have made in the past.

Karen Alanis
Forest Park