Some of the Texas prisons are hot enough to give someone a heat stroke. It's actually happened to at least 14 inmates, who died in the unbearable heat that reaches up to 130 degrees on a given summer day.
That's enough to make the prison guards and inmates come together to buck the system. The union that represents the Texas correctional officers plans to join pending litigation against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Lance Lowry, president of the local American Federation of State County and Municipal Employee, had this to say to the Austin American-Statesman.
“These conditions are dangerous to both the employees and the inmates,” Lowry said, noting that it’s highly unusual for officers and convicted criminals to agree on litigation against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “It’s time for the state to modernize its system … at least to comply with its own standard for county jails that say the temperature can’t exceed 85 [degrees].”
And it's not just that Texas prisons are scorching hot, but the disregard for humanity and common decency is at embarassing levels in general. My colleague Stephen Green at The Huntsville Item, in the town that houses seven prison facilities including the nation's busiest death chamber, reported on the fact that pigs (actual pigs) are getting air conditioning quicker than humans.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice approved a contract to purchase swine nursing tools, which includes air conditioners. The worst part is that Texas' prison culture is such that if it wasn't for the guards speaking up, this complaint would fall on deaf ears. The overwhelming public has no sympathy for the prisoners, despite the fact that prison guards get to go home when their shift is over, while the inmates sleep in 100+ degree heat.