Prisons in Texas are hot. Too hot for human beings.
The actual, literal, non-metaphorical deadly heat inside Texas prisons has been a topic of scrutiny for years, because their sweltering jails have the unfortunate side effect of killing prisoners, and that tends to be looked down upon by the sort of outside agitators who value things like "basic human rights." This week, the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas released a new report on the topic, which—one would hope!—will be read by the people responsible for running the prisons in Texas.
One notable thing about this report is that the same group released a similar report a year ago. None of this is a secret. None of it is a surprise. It is a gross instance of basic prisoner abuse that has been amply documented and exposed and yet continues on to this day, all because the state of Texas fails to air condition some of its prisons. "It would appear that ongoing pleas from inmates and their families, national organizations, and international human rights bodies have fallen on deaf ears as the recommendations outlined in the previous report have largely been ignored by the [Texas Department of Criminal Justice," the Human Rights Clinic notes. Are these recommendations radical and onerous? If you consider air conditioning in summer in Texas when you live inside a tiny metal box to be radical, I guess so. If you consider "not dying from heat stroke" to be onerous, then yes. This, by the way, is one issue that guards and prisoners alike can unite on: prison guards in Texas are suffering from the heat almost as badly as the people they're guarding.
The TDCJ also fails to provide effective medical care for its inmates. Many inmates are particularly susceptible to heat injury due to prior medical conditions, certain medications, or old age. The TDCJ neither monitors these inmates nor provides them with adequate living conditions to prevent suffering and death during the summer months. Indeed, all fourteen inmates who have died since 2007 under the care of the TDCJ suffered from pre-existing medical conditions exacerbated by the heat, and thirteen suffered from medical conditions necessitating medication that heightened their sensitivity to heat. Five of the deceased spent less than a single week in custody before succumbing to the dangerously high temperatures in Texas facilities. All inmates whose body temperatures were measured at their time of death had body temperatures between 105°F and 109°F (40.6°C and 42.8°C). Even where the TDCJ has issued specific standards to protect heat-sensitive inmates, such as in work or recreation areas, the TDCJ fails to actually implement these standards
Don't put people in jail if you're not prepared to care for them.