Heat rising : the public controversy about heat in Texas prisons - for many it's much more personal

Date

2015-05

Authors

Schneider, Lauren Elizabeth, M.A.

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Abstract

Since 2007, at least 14 inmates have died in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prisons as a result of the extreme heat. The Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas has published over 100 pages in reports detailing the facts and statistics surrounding the issue of heat in the prison system. Other than infirmaries and psychiatric wards, the prisons remain un-air-conditioned. The inmates who have died as a result of the high temperatures left behind family members struggling to come to terms with the loss. The issue extends beyond inmates; correctional officers who work in the same buildings day in and day out are suffering alongside. While the issue has received a fair amount of coverage in the news focused on the data and statistics, the human element has been left to the wayside. These are the stories of people like Ashley Adams, who lost her father due to the heat after only one day in TDCJ. The human story needs to be told on this issue.

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