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January 22

Call-in to Support Prisoners Fight Against Toxic Living Conditions at Michigan Women’s Prison

Call for call-in campaign on Friday, January 25th to support prisoners’ fight against toxic living conditions in Michigan.

This week people at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (WHV) will be put on lockdown from Tuesday through Friday. During this time, everyone incarcerated at WHV will be forced to take Ivermectin, a pill to treat what MDOC is calling a scabies outbreak, and the prison will be closed to the public.

MDOC is forcing the use of Ivermectin in response to a mysterious, itchy rash that broke out a year ago. People inside WHV are reporting that they suspect the rash is not due to scabies, but rather to issues with the buildings’ water system, black mold, and lack of ventilation. They report, for example, that MDOC staff have been warned not to drink tap water at the facility, while prisoners have no other option.

People inside report that if they refuse to take the Ivermectin pill they are facing punishment and will be placed in segregation for 90
days.

Call to demand MDOC’s accountability for the handling of the rash and overall conditions at WHV. Show MDOC that the public is paying attention to the treatment of the prisoners inside WHV.

CALL FRIDAY, JANUARY 25 AND ASK:

Why are women being forced to take this pill when there are reports that the rash may not be connected to scabies? Why are there reports that the water is not drinkable and there is black mold in the showers? Why are guards and doctors told not to drink the tap water?

Why has the prison failed to investigate the rash with more transparency?

What will happen to women who refuse to take the pill?

Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility Warden, Shawn Brewer: (734)-572-9900, then press 8 for “more options”, 3 for administrative office, 1 for warden’s office

MDOC Director, Heidi Washington: (517)-241-7238

BACKGROUND:

Last February many people at WHV complained of an itchy rash that was originally identified as scabies. When many tests came back negative for scabies, officials began looking for another cause of the rash, at one point blaming prisoners for mixing cleaners for self-laundering of clothes.

In the past two months, officials returned to their theory that the rash is scabies, and have treated 25 people with Ivermectin, a pill used to fight parasites. This week, all 2,070 inmates will be required to take Ivermectin, and be placed on lockdown in their units for 4 days. During this time the prison will also be closed to visitors. A mass treatment like this is unprecedented, and those who refuse will be placed in segregation.

Reports from women inside say that not all the women suffering from skin rashes believe it is due to scabies and suspect MDOC’s response to enforce a mass treatment of scabies is covering up for infrastructural issues in the buildings potentially related to the rash, such as the water system, black mold in the showers, and the buildings’ lack proper ventilation. WHV’s building conditions and inadequate health services (provided by Tennessee-based Corizon Health Inc) have been previously extensively reported on by the Free Press and other media outlets, yet MDOC continues to deny this could be connected to the outbreak.

READ MORE HERE:

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/01/14/women-huron-valley-prison-scabies/2571069002/

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/03/14/state-investigating-itchy-rash-afflicting-women-held-state-prison/419726002/

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Written By:

Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity MAPS

Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity (MAPS) is a group organizing in solidarity with imprisoned people against the violence of incarceration.

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