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After 19 Die From Heat in Prison, Lawmaker Says ‘Texans Don’t Want Air Conditioned Prisons’

After a University of Texas study found that 19 inmates have died from extreme heat inside Texan prisons, one lawmaker is defending the state’s stance on temperatures inside the prison saying “Texans don’t want air conditioned prisons.”

John Whitmire, who heads the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said “We need to have a grown-up discussion of what’s practical and reasonable and what’s politically acceptable. But I can tell you, the people of Texas don’t want air-conditioned prisons, and there’s a lot of other things on my list above the heat. It’s hot in Texas, and a lot of Texans who are not in prison don’t have air conditioning.”

Lance Lowry, the President of the Local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees argues that “Our state places a greater emphasis on protecting its bacon than protecting the inmates and the officers in the state of Texas, and that’s sad. I have never worked in an environment where I’ve seen my co-workers fallout from everything from heart attack to strokes, and these conditions greatly affect that. We pride ourselves on being tough. Unfortunately this is being tough in the wrong area.”

Attorney Brian McGiverin adds “Every year, like clockwork, the incredible heat in Texas prisons in killing people.” Ariel Dulitzky, who headed the Texas University study, notes “We say that this is inhuman, degrading treatment, but it’s a question of severity. So we feel that this is close to torture, but we don’t call it torture.”

Jeff Edwards, an attorney representing the families of eight inmates who died from the heat, says “Heat stroke, unlike almost any other illness that people die from in prison, is completely preventable. All you need to do is lower the temperature. And they’ve chosen not to do that.”

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Igor Derysh is the Managing Editor of Latest. com and a syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sun Sentinel, and AOL News. His work has been criticized in even more publications. Follow him on Twitter @IgorDerysh

  • diablodejalisco

    this country is going downhill under republicans. the red states need to turn blue.

  • brotherap

    It amazes me how Texans spend so much time touting their Christian values, and their sense of humanity, yet they pride themselves in being extremely inhumane, in order to promote how Texas tough they really are, and willingly ambivalent to such things as the perennial deaths due to heat stroke in their 120+ prisons.

  • jlo1965

    It’s the department of corrections not the department of vengeance.If you have prisoners dying of heat exhaustion it’s a problem. To be so callous and say there are people outside of prison without air-conditioning they can simply go to the mall or to a pool and get out of the heat. Prisoners are locked in a virtual tomb with no ventilation. It’s a felony to leave animals in this way. This politician needs to be locked in a cell over a nice long hot weekend .

  • ohboy99

    Sen. John Whitmire, quoted in the article, is a Democrat

    • diablodejalisco

      not likely, but in texas, who knows?

  • dagobarbz

    This is incredible. If you locked up dogs without a/c in a box there would be outrage. But since it’s inmates, no big deal. Ugh. Texas needs to be dismantled. This is horribly inhumane. I’d like some of those clown politicians to spend a week in prison with no a/c. I’d like it even better if they died during their incarceration.