Sep 21, 2009
Like other states, many of Alaska’s citizens live in modern cities with all the conveniences thereof. However, hundreds of other families live a subsistence existence, unable to even get fresh water piped directly into their homes. They also do not enjoy a waste water sewage system that carries human waste away from their homes.
In too many villages, the rural people use buckets to haul fresh water back to their homes from a single community spigot of treated water. These same villagers will usually have some kind of community “sewage lagoon” or bunkers to which they haul from their homes their 5-gallon buckets of human waste and into which they dump the smelly, unhealthy contents.
Pediatric illness is higher among these residents who lack fresh, treated water piped into their homes and who lack the ordinary waste water and sewer services of much of the rest of Alaska. In other words, living like that is bad for babies and other children and the rest of the families, as well.
However, in Alaska, one group of people is guaranteed certain basic, human, civil rights. In their “quarters”, so to speak, lighting, ventilation and temperatures must be carefully maintained. The law mandates, in each living space, they must be provided one sink with hot and cold running water and an adequate working toilet. Showers must be located nearby with water temperatures maintained at 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Under certain conditions, these people have access to free cable t.v. service, with one t.v. allowed in their “quarters”. The law also guarantees them free computer usage under certain conditions as part of their education, employment or vocational training.
I’m sure you have figured this out:
According to state law, the Alaska Department of Corrections must meet certain levels of care for its incarcerated population. http://tinyurl.com/mrvu89
Law-abiding rural Alaskans are not guaranteed these same rights. The citizens of many Alaskan communities continue to use honey buckets in their homes, in lieu of waste water systems, and the contents must be laboriously hauled away to be dumped in “sewage lagoons”, etc.
Can you visualize the prison population being forced to do this? Well, maybe not, because those primitive living conditions for state prisoners are AGAINST state law.
And, if a prisoner had to tote his own water from one spigot in the prison yard somewhere, back to his own cell, for his personal drinking and bathing, it would constitute cruel and unusual treatment. That, too, is against state law.
And, piped-in hot showers? Well, of course, prisoners are guaranteed hot showers. Absolutely.
How many Alaska prisons have leaky ceilings where rainwater drips down inside the cells? And how many of those residents suffer asthma and other breathing problems from mold due to bad ventilation and chronically wet interior conditions? That, too, would never be tolerated with all the legal rights afforded the incarcerated in Alaska, but it’s happening today in who-knows-how-many rural homes.
If you are INCARCERATED in Alaska, substandard housing, honey buckets, hauling potable water home in buckets, and cold, damp, moldy living conditions are AGAINST THE LAW.
Something to think about…