Cruel and unusal punishment:
Air conditioning has become universal and essentail across the South over the past 40 years with one exception: in prisons. While there are no national statics on air conditioning in prison, I found at least 13 states in the hottest regions of the country that lack air conditiong:
Alabama Arizona Florida Georgia Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Mississippi
Missouri North Carolina South Carolina Texas Virginia
These prisons are using the heat as a form of punishment even though the inmates have already been sentenced by the courts. I will also take a look at consequences of the extreme heat.
Prolonged exposure can cause dedrydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke which can be fatal. It can also affect people’s liver, kidney, heart, lungs, and brain. Many medications can make people vulnerable to heat. Conditions like diabetes and obesity can limit a person’s ability to regulate their body heat, as can high blood pressure medications and most pyschotropic medications. I wonder how many inmates and officers have been extremely ill or died from the extreme heat?
Several of the prisons are built with heat-retaining materils keeping the heat inside the buildings. In Arizona when the heat reaches 115 degress outside, the inmates are on lock down. While the inmates are on lock down they can not make phone calls home to their loved ones because the phones are outside. If an inmate does not have a tablet they do not have a way to communicate with their family. Some inmates have fans if they can afford them. Fans are around $20.00 from the commissary.
Privilege or Amenity?
Some people believe that having air conditioning in prison is a “luxury”. If leaving a child or a pet in the car is crime, well leaving someone in cell with no air conditioning should be also. If it is 115 degree outside what do you think it is in that building with no air conditiong, all that concrete, steele and human bodies? When you add humidity I’m sure it is not pleasant. Most of us who are not incaracerated we can go into an air conditioned building, take a cold shower, eat cold ice cream, go swimming, or do something to get out of the heat. Inmates do not have that option. When states go out of their way to pay to not to put in air conditoning and not pass bills to put laws into place to have air conditioning in their prisons that is completely wrong!! Inmates are still people too!
Tell me your thoughts.
What do you think?
A/C? No A/C?