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On this episode, Kumars interviewed incarcerated environmental activist Bryant Arroyo, speaking to us from Frackville Prison in Pennsylvania. Bryant has been incarcerated by the state of Pennsylvania for 24 years, and has been fighting to prove his innocence after being sentenced to life without parole. In addition to becoming a lawyer while behind bars, Bryant organized a victorious campaign against a coal gasification plant slated to be built next to his prison. He has taken on other campaigns to improve environmental conditions for Pennsylvania prisoners and has spoken to environmental conferences by phone about his efforts.
We learn how Bryant was able to organize hundreds of fellow prisoners at SCI Mahanoy in Southeastern Pennsylvania to oppose and eventually prevent the construction of a coal gasification plant nearby. Despite strict rules against circulating petitions, Bryant was able to get 402 prisoners to send identical, individual letters to Mahanoy Township Supervisors, joining with some local residents and environmental groups to stop construction of the plant. Bryant discusses how he was moved from medium-security SCI Mahanoy to the maximum-security SCI Frackville prison as a result of his activism. Despite repression like this, Bryant hasn't been deterred from his work, and he tells us about his current efforts combatting black mold and critically contaminated water at SCI Frackville. Bryant talks about the serious health problems Frackville inmates are experiencing as a result of being forced to drink contaminated water, and the evidence he has uncovered showing that prison officials were aware of the contamination issues and failed to act. Finally, we ask Bryant for his thoughts about the censorship of Worker's World newspapers in Pennsylvania prisons, as a result of their coverage of the #OperationPush prison strikes in Florida.
A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.