Incarceration Nation

Toxic Prisons

Speech for the Fight Toxic Prisons 2017 National Convergence Conference

By Bryant Arroyo

Hello there environmentalists, ecologists, bioneers, blue-gold/rain forest protectors, movers/shakers, GMO opponents, Green Tech innovators, Indigenous leaders, social/environmental justice activists gathered here today.

I want to thank you for your magnanimous invitation to join all of the “environmental regulators,” at this unprecedented  “Fight Toxic Prisons 2017 National Convergence Conference,” at Denton/Ft. Worth, Texas. 

The environment includes everything around an individual, the air one breathes, the water we drink, and the place in which we live. As such, the environment serves as a protective factor and promotes one’s overall physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

So much have the various features of the Earth been shown to be in delicate balance—such as the physical and chemical properties of water, plant life, the ecosystem, the complexity of the atmosphere—that British astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, was moved to state “[r]ather than accept the fantastically small probability of life having arisen through the blind forces of nature, it seemed better to suppose that the origin of life was a deliberate intellectual act.”

This is why we are here to deliberately fight toxic prisons together in support of those inside the Nation of Prisoners.

I believe it is important that the voices of all who are directly or indirectly impacted by the building of this massive $444-million-dollar project be heard.

I’d like to start off by quoting the words of Margaret Mead,  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

Many states have already learned a painful lesson from their dealing with projects such as the one being proposed by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) plan to build their facility on a toxic coal mine site in Letcher County. And this is because in everyone of those cases the tragic consequences of allowing similar projects to operate in those other communities could not have been fully appreciated until it was too late to stop the devastation to both human lives and the environment. Indeed, too often, the problem is that the people in those communities are unaware that these companies have a specific set of criteria for targeting their next victim community. That is, communities with high unemployment rates where people are in financial trouble. And once those factors are in play, they’ve got what they need to get their foot in the door. Sadly, even when some might feel apprehensive about the potentially bad consequences of having these projects in their communities, those real concerns compete with the fear of an uncertain financial future for themselves and their families. This is when the seduction dance begins on the part of these giant corporations (BOP).

First, they come into the community offering a bright future for those who would support their BOP plans by promises of good paying jobs. Then, to do away with any real concerns about their personal health and environmental, toxic-site damage, they bring in their so-called experts in their expensive suits with an air of respectability, pretending to be pillars of society, when they are nothing more than hired-guns who come into an unsuspecting community speaking the latest impressive-sounding scientific jargon. With the skill of a master-illusionist, they complete the deception started by company executives. The tragic success of this deceit is reflected in the readiness with which average tax-paying citizens unwittingly welcome these corporate environmental-terrorists into their communities, only to regret it later when their tax-paying citizens’ lives are devastated by an unlivable environment and their bodies are ravished by terminal diseases.

One of the strongest examples we have that this project is being proposed without any thought of the consequences to environmental justice, water quality, prisoner’s rights, endangered species, and the lack of assessing alternatives to incarceration, can be found in the environmental impact statement (EIS). That’s where the Bureau of Prisons states they have “determined there is no significant new information relevant to environmental concerns and appreciable changes to potential impact as a result of modifications to the Roxana site[.]”

It is very clear from that portion of the statement that the BOP has no idea as to what detrimental impact the building of this federal facility on top of a toxic mine site, costing taxpayers $444 million dollars out of the federal budget, will have on both human life or on the environment for that matter. In light of this revelation, we have to ask, can anyone see the insanity in this? In effect, the BOP doesn’t mind experimenting to gather data in which close to several thousand federal prisoners, federal corrections officers, civilian staff and the rest of the population of the Roxana-site community will be reduced to the status of guinea pigs; in effect—lab rats.

In closing, there are two reasons for doing anything: a good reason, then, there is, the real reason. Is there any economic feasibility to waste the taxpayer’s $444 million dollars on a federal prison that will eventually promote sickness and cancer, causing diseases to both the federal prisoners and civilian staff-members, alike?

Fight the Bureau Of Prisons and prevent them from building on a toxic mine site in Roxana. Mutual allegiance is our support system. That is our contract. Protest—fight, fight, fight!

Bryant Arroyo @ Copyright, June 3, 2017

Prison Radio, June 3, 2017

Write to:

Bryant Arroyo #CU-1126

SCI Frackville

1111 Altamont Blvd.

Frackville, PA 17931