Life in a prison is probably not the safest environment for a person. But for prisoners in Pennsylvania, life just got a lot more dangerous.
According to a new report, inmates at State Correctional Institution Fayette in LaBelle, Pennsylvania have been experiencing a significant increase in cancer rates. The report, which was put together by the Abolitionist Law Center and the Human Rights Coalition, says that the culprit is a nearby coal ash dump.
11 prisoners died from cancer between January 2010 and December 2013, another six have been diagnosed with cancer and eight more have undiagnosed tumors or lumps.
Also, more than 80 percent of 75 prisoners responding to the investigators experienced respiratory problems, 68 percent said they experienced gastrointestinal problems and half have skin rashes, cysts and abscesses. Twelve percent, nine of the 75, reported being diagnosed with a thyroid disorder at the prison or having their existing thyroid problems get worse. Many of the prisoners have multiple, overlapping symptoms, the report said.
The death rate at the Fayette correctional facility is the third highest in the state. However, the two prisons with higher mortality rates also house large populations of elderly inmates, making Fayette the highest death rate among preventable causes.