Seven state prison inmates in Florence are in intensive care, probably because they tried to get wasted this weekend.
Of course, the prison doesn't bring in bottles of pinot grigio for the inmates, so Pinal County officials are thinking it was the homemade "pruno" that did the inmates in, and landed them in the hospital with botulism.
According to information from the county, four prison-wine connoisseurs got super-sick around the same time on Saturday, and by noon Sunday, seven inmates were in intensive care.
The Centers for Disease Control is involved, as it has to release the anti-toxin in any botulism poisoning, and it has indeed released that anti-toxin to the medical professionals treating the inmates.
The county says it's not certain that the "pruno" is to blame, but prison officials happened to find some samples of this prison wine to send to the CDC.
As the county's health folks explain, "Sickness and death from botulism toxicity was more common many years ago, often coming from home-canned food and fruits. Increased attention to food safety and proper food handling methods has dramatically decreased the number of human toxicity cases from botulism."
The Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman, in Florence, made it almost three months without a prison-wine/botulism incident.
On August 6, four inmates were hospitalized, and believe it or not, the seven inmates hospitalized in this incident were all being housed in the same unit as the last incident -- Special Management Unit 1 of the Florence prison.
According to the latest count from the prison (today), 513 inmates are housed in this unit. In total, 5,143 inmates call the prison home.
If you feel like there's a possibility that you may go to prison at some point in your life, click here for instructions on properly preparing prison wine.