I wondered for a moment last week if it has occurred to the good old boys who run the Texas prison system that their Christian sky-god, if he existed, might send them straight to hell:
Last summer’s record-breaking heat wave had a grim impact on Texas, playing a role in the deaths of roughly 150 people. Many of them were found in their homes or apartments, but a few were discovered somewhere else — in their prison cells.
Ten inmates of the state prison system died of heat-related causes last summer in a 26-day period in July and August, a death toll that has alarmed prisoners’ rights advocates who believe that the lack of air-conditioning in most state prisons puts inmates’ lives at risk…
But then I remembered that people tend to create gods in their own image, and that the good old boys, therefore, would probably tell you they’re doing God’s work.
So it was nice to see this story, a few days later, in Huffington Post:
A former inmate claiming a Texas prison reached dangerously high temperatures without relief may sue the state, a federal judge ruled on Monday.
At its worst, the heat index inside the South Texas prison that held Eugene Blackmon soared to as high as 130 degrees, according to court documents…
In addition to asking for compensation, Blackmon is suing to force prison officials to install proper ventilation and provide inmates with access to cold water. The case will be heard by a jury.
“The Constitution doesn’t require [prison] to be comfortable, but it requires it to be safe and humane,” said Scott Medlock, Blackmon’s attorney and director of the Texas Civil Rights Project. “You just can’t put people in temperatures that high. He’s frankly lucky that nothing worse happened to him.”
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