Ohio Inmates Work To Process Clean Water For Toledo Residents Amid Crisis

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The Pickaway Correctional Institution is a working dairy farm. Milk is processed from their own cattle, which are raised there.

Warden Brian Cook says in a typical week the dairy cows living behind prison walls provide milk for some 50,000 Ohio prisoners.   “It's a self-sufficient, self-contained operation with DRC,” Cook says.

With the recent water ban in Toledo however, prisoners were quick to sterilize equipment and trade out milk for water instead, shipping out 45,000 gallons to the city by Monday.

Inmate Anderson says he doesn't mind working 12-hour shifts to help get water to people in need.  “It makes me feel good inside to know that what I'm doing is helping some other people in the community that need it,” Anderson says.

Warden Cook says that's an invaluable life lesson.

“They understand to have meaningful activity, give back to folks,” Cook says.  “It's not about them. It's about somebody else.”

The last truck pulled out just hours before Toledo lifted the water ban Monday morning, but the prison says it's ready to help if the need ever struck again.

The Beverage Processing Plant opened in 1986 and provides about 30-thousand gallons of milk a week for all state run prisons and two halfway houses.