California's State Water Restriction - Don't Blame The California Institution For Women In Corona, CA
Low-flow sinks and quarter-hour flush toilets make it hard to keep clean and sanitary
June 29, 2022
6.24.22: I bet you didn't know that CIW is on permanent restriction of prisoners' personal water usage. That's right, but it wasn't always this way. When I arrived at CIW in 2013, I didn't know how good we had it.
Now, CIW's cell toilets are on a 15 minute timer for flushes. 5 flushes per 15 minute time span. When you use up those 5 flushes, the toilet simply will not flush until the 15 minutes pass. Sounds fun huh? The sink is low-flow also. Rather than the water flow going downward as with a normal sink. Instead it flows upward just like a water fountain. So it has minimal flow and very little water is used. Additionally, the flow of water in the sink cuts off every 10 seconds. It's very tough to wash soap off of your hands like this.
The showers are equally frustrating. Each shower has a low-flow shower head. A very light sprinkling of water comes out in the shower. It's very hard to wash the soap out of one's hair in these showers. All part of the punishment of prison.
Several years ago, in 2017, CIW decided to go for accreditation with the ACA., the American Correctional Association. The same way schools must get academic accreditation, prisons can receive correctional accreditations from this ACA organization. They claim to be a nonprofit who sets standards for correctional institutions.
We learned the hard way this didn't necessarily mean a better life for prisoners. This correctional accreditation meant that all of CIW's prison cells had to be remodeled and outfitted with these low-flow sinks and toilets with timed flushing. These new toilets are metal with the a metal sink attached. The prior toilets and sinks were normal porcelain with normal water use.
As you can imagine, this accreditation process was very stressful for the prisoner population. In addition to the change to toilets and sinks, the cell door locking mechanisms were also changed. We can no longer lock our own cell doors by simply closing them. An officer must key each door to lock it. We no longer control this. As a result, we are at the mercy of officers to get up and lock our cells after us, so we can go to classes, etc.
Things have never been the same. I'm simply grateful to know I will be free from this place soon.