Prison heat

Posted Monday, Jun. 23, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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The June 20 commentary, “Summer heat kills inmates in Texas prisons” by the Human Rights Clinic, is a seasonal issue that state legislators need to address.

The Texas sauna heat of summer is unparalleled, and keeping inmates institutionalized without air conditioning in these conditions speaks loudly to violations of the Eighth Amendment.

The “do the crime, do the time” philosophy is not applicable to include torture. Even “Gitmo,” Arkansas and Oklahoma provide air-conditioning — why not Texas with its oppressive heat?

The excessive heat problem has been visited periodically with a Rolodex of excuses to not initiate a humane solution. If the Legislature can’t or won’t fix the issue, the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually mandate air conditioners.

— Delores Cantrell, Fort Worth

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