“Deadly Heat” in U.S. Prisons Is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits

Many state officials would rather spend money on legal fees than provide air conditioning to prisoners.

In Texas prisons, which mostly lack air conditioning, temperatures can reach 140 degrees. Prisoners have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and human rights lawyers have documented more than a dozen deaths resulting from extreme heat exposure

. They believe many more have died in prisons and jails across the U.S. No national standards exist for temperatures in prisons — other than the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

Deadly heat isn’t the only cruel punishment routinely dispensed in Texas, which boasts one of the nation’s busiest execution chambers. As a result of an unusual Texas law and testimony based on junk science, Jeff Wood faces the death penalty for a crime everyone agrees he did not commit

. Now the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a last-minute stay, and one judge even suggested that Wood is “categorically ineligible” for execution.

Roger Hodge

 National Editor

Source: “Deadly Heat” in U.S. Prisons Is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits

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