06 December, 2021

Missouri Prisoners Get Smart Toilets

Flush once and the green ring around the brushed-steel button will blink three times, almost approvingly, then turn red and cut off the flow of water. It's tempting to touch the button again, just to watch it do its thing. Do that, though, and the red ring returns. You'll lose the ability to flush for a full hour. Any subsequent attempts to flush will restart the one-hour countdown from the top. Why? Well, I'm no prison profiteer, but I imagine it's to teach water-squandering serial flushers a lesson... or something.

An electronic toilet flusher – what a fancy twenty-first-century twist on thousand-year-old tech. ("Fancy," in this case, being a euphemism for "dumb.") If someone in the Department of Corrections didn't think the investment in flush kits will somehow save Missouri money, ERDCC's plumbers and electricians wouldn't be crawling around the institution, doing actual work for a change.

Although I got mine last Wednesday, the process of installing the kits has been ongoing for weeks. Already there are problems. A few nights ago, my neighbor's toilet exploded at 3:15 AM, nearly flooding my cell as water cascaded from his bowl and the access panel between our doors. One of my coworkers' power went out when a breaker in his house blew, leaving him without TV, hot coffee, or the ability to flush for the entire holiday weekend. He was thankful to be the only one living in the cell right now.

I have to wonder about the new flush kits' lockout feature. Why isn't it enough to prevent our toilets from flushing more than once every five minutes? Why impose the one-hour penalty? It seems punitive, not to say cruel. If the state intends to save water costs, it would do just as well to shut our water off completely at certain times of day. Long hours without the ability to drink or flush or wash our hands would save money, too. No one's proposing that, though. It sounds too much like what it already is.

1 comment:

  1. Smart toilet..hmm. Unable to flash for an hours seems harsh


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