TPAA Heat Petition
So, imagine with me that YOU are sitting in your hot car at over 100 degrees for several hours a day and for days on end (I dare you to try it). This is the reality of over 130,000 people within the TDCJ system. The inhumane conditions of lacking proper ventilation and temperature control within the TDCJ is a form of Torture! TDCJ continues to allow people to suffer in heat indexes of up to and over 149°F, as reported by the Hutchins Unit on July 19, 2011. The temperature log of a TDCJ unit documents temperatures ranging from 117°F to over 149°F. Now imagine you are the Mother, Father, wife, Husband, or child of someone who is suffering; what would you do about it?
Here are a few examples of reports that Texas Prisons' A/C Advocates have received from families and people on the inside:
“My son called me earlier around 7-ish. He said it's so hot, mama. This breaks my heart to the core.”
“He said it feels like you are cooking in there!”
“My son tells me it's so hot he puts water on the floor 'n lays down on it. He also wets his towel 'n puts it over his head 'n it drys up so quick cuz of the heat”
“..in the dinner line or lunch line and when u sat down to eat sometimes they close u in with no fans going and no air conditioning at all with about 50 to 100 inmates plus how hot the kitchen is from cooking. It's like suffocating.”
“He said the heat in there is extremely overwhelming and it’s hard to even breath. He’s a young man (24) and healthy …. He has already lost 7 pounds since first of May.”
“..he says the cells are just heat boxes. When he wets a towel, it dries up in minutes.
“…it was extremely hot in the dorms, I remember laying on the floor with no shirt on just in my sports bra just to get cool. Some ladies would get their sheets wet in the shower just to stay cool.“
Yet, despite several deaths, a plethora of media reports, wrongful death lawsuits filed, and complaints from family members and union officials for well over 18 years, TDCJ is still refusing to take basic steps to provide humane conditions for the people in their care. It seems reasonable that if TDCJ has money in the budget to replace its aging swine-production facilities with 6 new climate-controlled modular barns, at the cost of $750,000, surely, they could treat people better than pigs.
This unconscionable behavior of allowing people to be tortured by deadly heat conditions must cease. What are we asking for?
The same conditions that The Texas Commission on Jail Standards already requires. Every county jail needs to maintain internal temperature stays between 65 and 85 degrees. Other states with hot climates, such as Arkansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, air condition their prisons, and even the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is air-conditioned.
By the way, did you try the Hot Car dare?
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