From Texas Public Radio:
A deadly heat wave continues across the Southwest, and an often forgotten group of people affected are prisoners.
Many inmates struggle to stay cool in aging facilities, including in Texas — where some 100,000 prisoners live in large facilities that lack air conditioning.
One inmate told TPR the best way to describe what it’s like to be in a Texas prison cell without air conditioning is to think of a cookout on a hot day.
“It’s like you’re standing over a grill all day,” he said.
TPR is not using his name because Texas prison rules bar him from giving phone interviews. He also worried about retribution from administrators.
He explained that he goes to bed drenched in sweat every night and wakes up drenched every day. Throughout the day, he tries to stay cool by dousing himself in water.
“The lower you are, the cooler it is, so I put water on my ground and lay in it sometimes. It’s just me pretty much naked in the cell,” he said.
Data from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice obtained from a state lawmaker showed its 68 prisons without air conditioning were sweltering last month, averaging well over 85 degrees. That would be a safety violation for a county jail, which mandates temperatures remain below 85 degrees.