CorruptUser wrote:Wait, don't the guards need AC too? I don't know much about Texas prisons, but I can't imagine that the guards never patrol the halls.
This implies to me that the guards do get AC:
The Texas Tribune wrote:Texas has more than 100 prisons, and almost 75 percent of them don’t have air conditioning in the areas where inmates live
But, the injunction states that "TDCJ produced records evidencing heat-related illnesses suffered by hundreds of correctional officers," which suggests that they might not.
What really kills me is this:
Ken Paxton (TX Attorney General) wrote:The judge’s ruling downplays the substantial precautions TDCJ already has in place to protect inmates from the summer heat
The Texas Tribune wrote:
The lawsuit points to 23 deaths and hundreds of illnesses related to heat in Texas prisons since 1998
Sure, Texas has over 100k people in prison, so it may seem like a small proportion, but it still kills me that the state doesn't want to get their act together to treat them more humanely. Even if you aren't medically in danger from the heat (it is possible to get used to it to some degree), it's still quite cruel to not give them much relief. Sure, it is a pretty significant expense for the state (the article I linked to earlier suggests that it'll be about $500k to install and $100k to run every year), but it does seem like that not providing it could be classified as "cruel and unusual punishment." Also, the state has spent over $2 million trying to fight this lawsuit...
Sure, it's good that they are allowed unlimited ice water, cold showers, and personal fans -- those can help to a pretty decent degree, but they aren't nearly as effective as AC. Apparently, you aren't supposed to use a fan when the heat index is over 95 degrees (this comes as a surprise to me), which happens most days in the summer. According to the injunction, even with these measures, around 100 heat illness are still reported every year in prisons across the state (and they are underreported).
I, too, wonder if this will have implications for the homeless. Texas does have a pretty substantial homeless population (as the winters aren't that bad compared to most other states). There have been heat related deaths in the state in every month but January.
I'm not sure how many homeless deaths are exacerbated by the heat.
EDIT: Also, the fact that this prison in particular lacks window screens is not good. Texas has large populations of mosquitoes that can spread dengue, chikungunya, and zika. Not to mention assassin bugs that do carry chagas' disease and mosquitoes that carry west nile. One of the biggest contributors to dengue (and presumably other insect-borne illness) outbrakes is a lack of screens on windows. There's also evidence that there is at least some low-level dengue transmission in parts of Texas (Houston).