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To: Texas Senators John Whitmire and Rodney Ellis, Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Contaminated Water Causes Cancer in Texas Prisons; Officials Ignore Complaints and Avoid Clean-up

Petition Text

Mark Schwarzer and thousands of other Texas prisoners are suffering due to water contamination and grievance neglect. Demand an investigation into the unethical conduct of Boyd Unit Grievance Officer Mark Fryhoff - one of many responsible for covering up the prison water crisis.

Why is this important?

Mark Schwarzer spent five years at Wallace Pack Unit, where he was exposed to high levels of arsenic discovered in the prison water supply. While serving time at Wallace Pack Unit, Mark was diagnosed with skin cancer. He attributes the cancer to his consumption of the arsenic-tainted water in the prison.

Soon after, Mr. Schwarzer requested that his blood be tested for arsenic but University of Texas Medical Branch personnel vehemently refused. As a result of their refusal, Mark filed a Step I (I-127) grievance. In September 2015, not long after these events, Mark was involuntarily transferred from Wallace Park Unit, in Navasota, TX to Boyd Unit in Teague, TX.

Mr. Schwarzer discovered that his Step I (I-127) grievance had been denied, and he filed a Step II (I-128) grievance at the Boyd Unit. The Unit Grievance Investigator at Boyd, Mr. Mark Fryhoff, has refused to produce a copy of Mr. Schwarzer's Step II grievance, claiming it has mysteriously disappeared. Without this document, these is no evidence at the Boyd Unit that Mark Schwarzer has filed a grievance or requested blood tests.

Mark Schwarzer is suffering from arsenic-caused skin cancer, and because of Officer Fryhoff’s either intentional or irresponsible misplacement of the Step II (I-128) grievance, Mark is unlikely to receive the immediate testing and treatment that he is asking for. Losing grievances or failing to produce copies damages the integrity of the entire process.

There are numerous incidents of TDCJ prison officials attempting to cover up contaminated water problems at its facilities. Texas prisons promote a pattern of conduct where TDCJ employees, including wardens, corrections officers and classification personnel, use their positions to retaliate against prisoners who file grievances or shed light on injustices and abuse. We must begin to hold these individuals accountable for their abuse of power!

Please sign this petition, demanding that Senator Ellis and Senator Whitmire contact the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and mandate an inquiry and investigation into the unethical conduct of Boyd Unit Grievance Officer Mark Fryhoff.


2016-05-01 22:33:54 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2016-03-04 12:00:53 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2016-03-04 11:10:59 -0500

500 signatures reached

2016-03-04 10:52:00 -0500

100 signatures reached

2016-03-04 10:49:15 -0500

50 signatures reached

2016-03-03 12:27:19 -0500

25 signatures reached

2016-02-23 17:55:42 -0500

10 signatures reached