Connect with us


Heat deaths in prisons on the rise due to climate change



TThe best time to visit a prisoner in Texas is early in the morning when the crowds are small and the lines are short. During the summer months, psychologist Amit Dominik aims for the middle of the day, not because it’s best for her schedule – it’s not – but because she knows that if she shows up during the hottest time of the day, her ex-husband will get at least a few hours. respite in an air-conditioned visiting room when he needs it most.

Neither his cell nor the common areas of the prison where he has spent the past eight years have air conditioning, and in summer the temperature inside can reach triple digits. On very hot days, Dominique says, her ex-husband’s white prison overalls are already soaked with sweat when he walks out to her. “When I hug him, he’s just wet.”

It’s not just uncomfortable, it can be deadly. In accordance with research To Julie Scarha, an environmental epidemiologist at Brown University’s School of Public Health, 271 inmates died of heat-related causes in unair-conditioned Texas prisons between 2001 and 2019. Many others suffer from heat exhaustion every year, complaining of dizziness, nausea, prickly heat, and muscle cramps. “Due to climate change, every summer will be worse than the last. If nothing is done about it, people will continue to die,” says Dominik, founder Texas Prison Community Lawyers, an organization that campaigns for the welfare of prisoners. “We have people who apply for unpaid parking tickets and [drug] charges of possession, and they end up getting a death sentence because of the heat.”

seventy percent There are no air-conditioned cells or common areas in Texas prisons, Skarhi said, and the situation is not much better in the rest of the United States. However, more and more people with illnesses and diseases are being held in prisons. mental health problems making them particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses. This puts the vulnerable population at even greater risk.

read more: Heat waves can be deadly for people with mental health problems

“When it’s hot, there are many things we can do to cool down, whether it’s turning on the air conditioner, drinking water, taking a cold shower, changing into lighter clothes, or going to a cooler place like a public library or the mall. Skarha says. “That’s impossible when you’re inside. Water is not available 24/7. The shower is limited. There is a form. If you need a fan, you have to buy it at the prison commissariat, and for some people this is not affordable.” in the March newspaper published in a medical journal PLOS OneSkarha analyzed summertime death rates in US public and private prisons over the past two decades and found that the death rate increased by 5.2% for every 10°F increase in temperature above the historical average of about 635 deaths in prisons due to severe heat wave since 2001.

Although there is no national database that tracks air conditioning in all US prisons, Skarha was able to compare death data in Texas prisons with and without air conditioning. She said she found no link between an extremely hot day and an increased risk of death in AC prisons. But in prisons where cells and common areas were not cooled, heat-related deaths increased by 13% compared to the rest of the population. This is a pretty strong indication, she says, that air conditioning plays an important role in keeping prisoners healthy on hot days. “It is not only the prisoners who are unhappy. Correctional workers, administration, guards and medical staff are also unhappy. The tension is high. Violence is on the rise, suicides are on the rise.”

V National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts hotter than average summer for broad bands of the United States; In the next five years, temperatures are likely to rise to record heights due to a combination of human-induced global warming and El Niño weather events. Unless decisive action is taken to limit fossil fuel emissions, the number of days per year with temperatures above 105°F will quadruple by mid-century. analysis Union of Caring Scientists. By the end of the century, thousands of American prisons will know how hot it is in Texas today. Without air conditioning, this can turn temporary imprisonment into a death sentence.

read more: What it’s like to live in one of the hottest cities on Earth, where it could soon become uninhabitable

Unlike prisons in the Northeast, Texas has heat-wave protocols in place. Fans must be introduced. Prisoners are supposed to be provided with extra water and ice and given the opportunity to take cold showers. But in Dominic’s experience, protocols are applied unevenly.

“First, the shower is not working or the temperature is too high. If you’re talking about a whole hostel, that’s over 50 people in the showers at the same time. If there aren’t enough officers to look after them, it’s not done.” She says the water coolers are only replenished every six hours: “So what happens when you’re the last person in line?” And when the temperature exceeds 95°F, there are not enough fans, she says, quoting recommendations for the prevention of heat illness published by the Centers for Disease Control. In fact, she notes, the CDC’s top recommendation for high temperatures is air conditioning: “[It] is the strongest protective factor… Exposure to air conditioning even for a few hours a day reduces the risk of heat-related diseases.”

At the Texas prison where Dominic’s ex-husband lives, inmates go to extreme measures to stay cool on hot days. (Dominique asked not to use her ex-husband’s name to protect his identity). Some make their cell toilets overflow to rest on the wet concrete floor. Others spin swamp coolers, throwing wet T-shirts over fans they buy from the store.

Both actions can result in a fine that will affect the possibility of parole, but on a hot day, “they’re desperate,” says Dominic, whose organization has become a sort of clearinghouse for inmate complaints about excessively hot conditions. “I fought the heat so hard,” wrote one female prisoner, “I can’t eat…I can’t gain weight…I feel dizzy and my head hurts…I am weak. I also have diarrhea with leg cramps at night. I even fainted a few times. I drink a lot of water. There is no delay… Please… help me with any information to get a unit transfer. Another woman woke up at 3 am from a dream of rain and found it was her cellmate’s sweat dripping from the top bunk. “I spent 5 years there, and it’s inhumane,” the prisoner wrote. “Your survival mode has to work, and you end up sleeping on a wet floor in wet clothes with a fan on, just to survive. I definitely have PTSD.”

read more: How extreme heat affects your brain and mental health

2021 Texas House of Representatives passed the bill require prisons to maintain temperatures between 65°F and 86°F — the same standard used in county jails — on the condition that legislators also provide funds to cover costs. They did not, and the bill died in committee. Due in part to Dominic’s fierce lobbying, the Texas House accepted similar account April 26, but lawmakers again failed to find funding – at $1.1 billion, the cost is certainly inflated, Dominic says – and the bill is likely to be defeated in the state Senate this week. “Texas is a very punitive state,” says Dominic. “Just a total lack of compassion.”

But as temperatures continue to rise, the costs of medical care for heat stressed prisoners, wrongful death lawsuits and staff for persistently hot prisons will also rise, Skarha says. “At this point, the government has probably spent more money fighting these air conditioning bills than it would actually cost to install air conditioning in these properties.” Part of the problem is that lawmakers still consider air conditioning a luxury, Skarha says. No one disputes the need for a television in prison, which is perhaps less important to a person’s health than air conditioning. “In the context of climate change, air conditioning is not a luxury. It’s a human right.”

This story was supported Pulitzer Center.

More must-read content from TIME

connect with us


Searched by science and then forgotten



Four decades ago, medical researchers turned to sick families in Colombia for information about Huntington’s disease. Scientists are only now watching, hoping that it is not too late.

Continue Reading


The woman who rode a camel for seven hours to give birth



Mona survived the harrowing journey, but others who faced similarly harsh choices in Yemen did not survive.

Continue Reading


Chrischel Staus wore a $530 wedding dress from her own closet to marry Gee Flip



Chrischel Stause is the latest celebrity to prove that wedding dresses don’t have to break the bank.

May 10 41 year old Sale Sunset The star surprised fans when she revealed the secret of her wedding to 29-year-old Australian musician Gee Flip. The couple married in an intimate ceremony in Las Vegas after a year of dating. “Love doesn’t always go according to plan…. Sometimes it’s immeasurably better,” signed Staus. Instagram video earlier this month, which featured a photo from the ceremony in the final moments of the clip.

In a recent interview With fashionista, the reality TV star revealed that she pulled out her white Gemeli Power wedding dress from her own wardrobe. “I was going to an event and [Power] gave me two versions of the dress and one was hanging in my closet because I never wore it,” Staus said. “I wanted to give it back to her and she said, ‘Just keep it.'”

She continued, “I think she was surprised to see that I ended up wearing it. I think she was very happy about it. It was a funny dress from Vegas for the wedding. Looks like I planned it, but I actually had it in my closet. I felt really confident in it. It actually spills a little. I love it because she is an Australian designer and the sweetest person.”

V She’s a fancy bodycon dress The ivory pearl is priced at $529 on and features a sculpted bust, a dramatic high slit, and a choice of rectangular or heart-shaped belt buckle (it looks like Staus opted for a rectangular one). Sizes range from 0 to 12.

Instagram content

This content can also be viewed on the website originates from.

Recently, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles opted for a $120 tiered spaghetti strap dress for her courthouse wedding to NFL player Jonathan Owens in April. “Everything was ordered this week,” Biles told fans during the wedding’s Instagram Stories Q&A session following the ceremony. “Dress. wedding rings. Shoes. Bouquet.” She complemented the latest find with wide sandals with leather straps. Pretty little thing.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 Culture Belle Media.