By the time Duane Waddy made a phone call from the Victoria County Jail in Texas Thursday night, it had been three days since he had access to running water.
The toilets in his 24-man dorm were rancid. The showers were being used as urinals. He said more than 11 hours had passed since he last received a bottle of water.
“They give us one bottle a day and tell us to make it last,” Waddy, 35, told NBC News by phone.
The massive winter storm that walloped the South this week left thousands of Texans without power and running water. Inside the walls of several Texas prisons and jails, incarcerated people have faced abominable conditions, according to interviews with inmates, family members and advocates.
Many facilities have gone long stretches with no heat, leaving inmates shivering in their cells. A lack of running water has caused toilets to overflow and people to go days without a shower. Advocates say the unsanitary conditions coupled with the threat of the coronavirus has fueled concerns of deadly outbreaks.