Earlier this week Inter Press Service published a piece of mine on the situation at California’s Kern Valley State Prison, where inmates are being forced to drink water that officials know contains twice the level of arsenic that’s considered “safe” by the EPA and World Health Organization.
Now Scott Kernan, the undersecretary of operations for California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (i.e., the Department of Mass Incarceration), has issued a statement that pledges action! to address the problem. The money line:
“We anticipate fully resolving this problem by August 2012.”
For a chuckle, here’s what a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health told me less than two weeks ago about the plans to build an arsenic treatment facility at the prison:
“Construction should start within 6 months and take 1 year for completion.”
That means, at the latest, the treatment facility should have been completed by February 2012. Now for some giggles, here’s what the warden of the prison, a Mr. M.D. Biter, said in a memo issued last month:
“We anticipate resolving the problem by October 2012.”
And now for some belly laughs, here’s what the previous warden, Anthony Hedgpeth, said in a memo issued back in 2008:
“We anticipate resolving the problem by June 2009.”
I anticipate having to write about this for . . . awhile.