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Heat Wave

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LotusBlossom
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Heat Wave

The heat wave has been terrible, already causing six deaths.  I was curious if prisons had air conditioning and was saddened to find out many do not. I know many of you often help out with health care check ins, hope all your loved ones/pps are doing well, staying cool, and have water readily available.

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2019/06/18/air-conditioning/

Redbird
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This is one of my main worries for my Texas prison mail buddies. People have died in substantial numbers in Texas prisons because of this, and the government hardly lifts a finger about it.

LotusBlossom
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Redbird, thank you for mentioning it, I googled Texas and started reading.  I wish there was more I could do to help, it’s extremely inhumane.  

annemariehh
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Ooh lotus this dam heats all over. I just got back to AZ from the cooler Czech repub. It was like walking into an OVEN.

Atemwende
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I'm never surprised to see my state (AL) on these lists. We lead in being the worst and most cruel in everything. Our prisons are some of the worst in the nation.

Been_on_the_inside
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There is no air conditioning in my brothers prisons in Texas and things there are starting to get a little tense I spoke with him on the phone and I could hear what was going on in the background with the guards and I gonna tell ya even knowing it was nothing much I’m a little tense myself right now.

LotusBlossom
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@Been, I was too this weekend.  I know what you mean hearing the background noises, people get out of sorts in this weather.  I’m ready for the autumn.  I saw an article about the heat, apparently it doesn’t make people more angry than normal BUT it does make people quicker to escalate a situation, which I thought was interesting.

FrankieBones
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We had this discussion last week, it hit Minnesota last week. Then there was a massive storm that spread out all the way from Minnesota to Wiconsin and beyond. I bought her a new fan two weeks ago because her old one wasn't working (she went to the store and bought it anyway). Well, the short and the long of it is that their work is airconditioned, then their general pod and library is airconditioned but their unit, where their cells are, aren't airconditioned. They're heated for winter but not air-conditioned. Can you imagine how hot it gets in a cell without windows in a prison?

Yeah that... Her prison has walls also, its not a camp so the wind doesn't get in as easily either.

Redbird
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Also - this may not be the case in Minnesota, but in some places, when the temperature and humidity gets high enough, a fan actually worsens things rather than helping. It blows additional heat onto your body. It is similar to the effect of blowing a hair dryer on yourself; it heats you up even more.

 

At a certain temperature + humidity point, there is simply no substitute for A/C.

Opally
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This might be a dumb question, but can't inmates get fans? A/C would be great in all prisons, obviously, but I'm assuming prisons allow fans if they buy them? Although, I think it's pretty messed up to benefit from people suffering in the heat.

FrankieBones
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As per above, at a certain point a fan is no longer useful. Half the problem is that they're forced to live in these conditions...

Redbird
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@Opally:  The fans (at least in Texas) often are sold in commissary at an exorbitant price (i.e., $22.50, which is a crushing price when an inmate is only paid perhaps a dozen cents per hour at a prison job).  And even then, they are of no use in cooling you down if the temperature and humidity is high enough - can actually accelerate your death.

LotusBlossom
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Unfortunately it’s still brutal weather in TX, so I really do feel empathetic for everyone who has pen pals and family in there.  It’s cooled down here for us but it is very scary.  Thank you for telling me about the fans everyone, prison ventilation, costs, and how to use them properly because it can get too hot, it’s useful info.

Opally
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@Redbird Thank you for telling me. I had no idea they were that much. I also didn't realize it could accelerate death!

One more question: do prisons not get enough money to install A/C units? Or do they just not care?

LotusBlossom
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Prisons gets more money in than you’d think.  But it gets distributed very poorly, least of all to help the inmates.  The ones at top are taking more than their fair share of bonuses while others have nothing.  And then they can use the line “but it’s a prison, not the Ritz.”  There’s a lot of turn over, corruption charges, congresspeople bringing it up because it is ridiculous.  But money talks, lots of people think “me first” and get carried away by the almighty dollar.  People will flip out over inmates having AC, books, tv, games, anything but being on a chain gang because some people really like to punish others, instead of seeking out methods of humane treatments.  So I guess people at the top might look at it like “well I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t”

I wouldn’t want their job.

Redbird
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@Oppally: The prisons definitely have enough money.  They have spent a lot more money fighting lawsuits related to heat-caused deaths or harm than what it would cost to install A/C outright.  

 

It's also a matter of politics. Many people in society have a vindictive attitude and want prisoners to suffer and don't want them to get A/C.  In Louisiana, for instance, there was a new prison that couldn't get built until the authorities first promised the locals that the prison would NOT have air conditioning. Only then did the locals assent to the prison being built.

It's often just a vicious pleasure over the suffering of inmates.

LotusBlossom
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I’ve seen a lot of fury over all that too in the news.  Even prisoners being allowed to have pen pals or any outside contact with people.  

Northernyank
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@Redbird, you could not be more right. Unfortunately, people have these misconceived notions that inmates are living these lives of leisure, getting  free medical, dental and mental heath care, and have all the comforts of home. Trying to tell people otherwise is frustrating. 

Redbird
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@NorthernmyYank, I used to have that impression too.  I thought that prison just consisted of being in your cell alone literally all day long, getting fed, being comfortable, but with nothing to do and just sleeping the days and nights away or standing at the metal bars with your hands holding the bars, gazing outwards.  (Actually, even that existence sounds pretty horrible.)  But yes - they're in harsh conditions of heat and cold, in unpleasant company, eating swill for food, working hard, sleeping little, etc.