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  #1  
Old 05-12-2016, 08:15 AM
Sara1986 Sara1986 is offline
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Default Petition: Lack of Proper ventilation and Air Conditioning in TDCJ Prisions

I know throughout the years this topic has been addressed frequently but I think the pressure on the ones responsible and the media coverage should be kept up. I was thinking about starting my own petition but since I'm relatively new to all this, I really don't know how
Online I found this petition on moveon.org titled: Lack of Proper ventilation and Air Conditioning in TDCJ Prisions

So, if your LO is, like mine, already suffering from the heat inside the prison, you should consider signing this petition and letting your friends and family know about this, too. If someone has more information on what we could do, I'm open to ideas and would be happy about hearing from you!
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:20 AM
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Apparently I can't post links so delete the gaps in this one to get to the petition:
petitions. moveon.org/sign/lack-of-proper-ventilation
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:23 PM
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It is just horrendous how they suffer from the summer heat in Texas! I pray this summer will be little cooler, it is suppose to be. TDCJ does not care how many inmates die, or get critically sick because of the heat. Contact your state representative, more than once.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:22 PM
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I already have and will keep doing so ... I can only hope that many people will do the same and that at least 80 more people care enough to sign the above mentioned petition! Thanks for your prayers!
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:36 PM
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Y'all seem to forget that A/C was NOT ordered in ANY of the sweeping changes ordered by WWJ all those years ago. He ALSO signed off on the plans for ALL of the new construction that went on post-1987.

Buildings are NOT any hotter now than they were back then. Is it the most comfortable of places? No. But it isn't meant to be comfortable. Besides, staff are working in the same conditions. Hell, my first office at the 'ham didn't have air conditioning and I survived...
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Old 05-17-2016, 04:27 AM
Sara1986 Sara1986 is offline
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Well, I'm sure you were allowed to go outside to take a breather now and then and went home after to work to turn on your A/C in Summer? I'm also sure you take cold showers when you feel like it ... is it supposed to be comfortable, no of course not ... is it ok that people in there suffer from heart and other health problems due to the heat and lack of ventilation? I don't think so!
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  #7  
Old 05-17-2016, 07:01 AM
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Well, I'm sure you were allowed to go outside to take a breather now and then and went home after to work to turn on your A/C in Summer? I'm also sure you take cold showers when you feel like it ... is it supposed to be comfortable, no of course not ... is it ok that people in there suffer from heart and other health problems due to the heat and lack of ventilation? I don't think so!
Actually, no...I remained in the building all day until departing to go home...and I rarely use A/C at the house. Working in facilities went a long ways towards why I have electric bills that barely hit $100 in the summer even with a two story home.

Easy solution for those that don't want to be in those conditions is DON'T COMMIT A FELONY. They CHOSE to be there by their actions. There is not a single offense that was not an action of choice, even those there on something like Intox Assault or Intox Manslaughter...
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Old 05-17-2016, 07:13 AM
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Well I am happy to hear you seem to be in good health and don't have any problems with the heat. As a doctor I can tell you about the physical problems that can arise when you're exposed to extreme temperatures 24/7 but I don't want to bore anyone.
Unfortunately, not everyone can bear those temperatures as well as you and you are right, they are in there for a reason. However, their punishment is being locked-up (which is more of a punishment than you and I can understand). Torture, however, (and yes, look up the United Nations Convention against Torture which includes exposure to extreme temperatures, which can pose a threat to human beings) should not be part of any punishment in any civilized society.
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  #9  
Old 05-17-2016, 12:10 PM
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Every year there are inmates who die from the extreme heat. I think it's unconscionable -- for the inmates and for the employees. Some might fare better than others, but that doesn't make it right. Apparently many of the employees agree, as the union that represents Texas' correctional officers joined the lawsuit filed over the death of at least 14 inmates. I certainly wouldn't expect them to cool the prisons off to a comfortable level, but even cooling them down to a temperature in the mid to high 80's would be helpful during the hot Texas summers, when temperatures inside some prisons have reportedly been as high as the 130's.

During one of my first visits with my son in TDCJ at Garza West during the month of July, I watched as guards rotated posts every few hours to give those working in the heat an opportunity to have a "break" and listened as someone spoke to them over their radios encouraging them to stay hydrated. They also had big coolers of cool water outside for the employees (I obviously can't speak to the situation inside the prison, but my son said that they would fill up a cooler with water at his unit in the early mornings during the summers, but there was rarely water in it after mid-morning and there was never any ice in it).

In the meantime, not many inmates are lucky enough to have a job where they are seated at a desk. My son worked in the laundry at one unit and in the kitchen washing dishes and pots and pans at another unit. There were many times during the summers that he thought he was going to pass out from the heat.

Thankfully, my son is out of prison now. But I still think it's wrong and I think that we, as a society, need to treat our prisoners better than that. And we need to do a better job of watching over inmates who are predisposed to developing heat stroke like diabetics or those with other chronic health issues. It's truly shameful that we lose inmates each year -- many of whom had short sentences that have ended up being death sentences for them because of the heat.
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:16 PM
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http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/lac...&r_by=11401588
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  #11  
Old 05-17-2016, 12:20 PM
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My husband is in prison in AZ, over 110 every day all summer and they are lucky to have working swamp coolers. There's no AC at all. Do I agree with it? No. Do I think it's inhumane? No. Our troops are overseas working without AC, construction workers without AC, in fact in places all over the world no AC is the norm. We have all inmate crews working the streets here in 115 or hotter all summer long, outside, obviously no AC. They will acclimate to the climate they are in. IF there are legitimate health concerns then they need to be addressed, but for most of the inmates, not having an AC isn't THAT big of a deal.

*Edit* Also, my husband is on the maintenance crew, so yes, he's in the heat every day all day and it's already over 100 here most days, and it's not even summer yet. He drinks water, wears sunscreen, uses common sense and he's fine. Just like the vast majority of other inmates.
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Old 05-17-2016, 02:30 PM
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As a doctor who has worked abroad for most of her life I can just repeat: It's not temporary exposure to extreme temperatures that inflicts dangerous harm on human health. It's the constant exposure. There's no adequate ventilation in a small prison cell. Being exposed to the heat for some time outside is a whole different thing. Even in the middle east I always experienced a breeze.
People have died in prison BECAUSE of heat induced health problems. I have talked to families who lost a love one in prison recently and everyone who claims it's not that big a deal should talk to them first!
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Old 05-17-2016, 04:15 PM
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And I'm telling you that my husband along with thousands of others have endured some of the worst heat conditions in the country in a prison cell 23 or 24 hours a day with no fan just fine. Yes, even in Texas where my husband was on a contract yard with no AC...and then a hurricane hit and they were without water or electric. In Phoenix, AZ where there's tent city jail and people live for months on end in the sweltering heat in tents since 1994. I do not believe it will cause adverse health affects unless the person is not drinking adequate water or has pre-existing medical conditions. People die in prison, it's unfortunate, I worry about it every day. But I don't worry about it because of the heat, and it's much hotter for much longer here than it is in TX. An inmate is much more likely to die of Hep C, AIDS, violence, in a riot, etc than because of heat.
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Old 05-17-2016, 05:11 PM
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Well then you're more than welcome to move into a concrete box without air conditioning and enjoy life.

As for me and mine? We will fight for air conditioning.

And let's not even get started on the stark difference between dry heat and humid heat.
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Old 05-17-2016, 05:53 PM
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Yes, let's talk about July and August when we have monsoons and it's 60% humidity and 110 since we don't have AC anywhere and only swamp coolers which do absolutely nothing in those conditions. Please! Also...I mentioned that my husband was IN TEXAS without AC previously!

I worry much more about our service men and women fighting for our country without running water, carrying insanely heavy packs than I worry about men and women sitting in cells with access to running water, drink water, get your clothes wet, yes it's miserable but there are far greater things to be concerned with.
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:04 PM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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It didn't suddenly get hot. Offenders have been dealing with Texas summers and Texas winters for more years than ANY of us have been alive. A small handful of deaths, while unfortunate, is something that happens in communities all around the State with people who HAVE NOT committed felonious conduct (in some cases, repeatedly...which begs the question of 'if it is so bad, then why don't they go to some other State to commit crimes?')

It is disingenuous to try and play the 'in a small cell all day' card because, with rare exception, very few offenders are in a cell all day long. They are in the cell primarily while sleeping (you know, at night, when the sun is not shining). The rest of the day they are at work, in day rooms, and in some cases, in the education building or law library (which often ARE cooled in some manner).

I grew up in Houston. I have also been in West Texas. Oh, and just for comparison with dry heat, also a bit of time in Las Vegas in the middle of summer (which I actually found comfortable despite being close to 110). There are no unit designs now that did not exist during my career with the agency. I have set foot for work-related purposes on ALL manner of design and spent time 'in the trenches.' I'm also on units on a regular basis now, with some units actually allowing me beyond the control picket to meet with my clients.

Quite honestly, I believe some of the incessant whining is because we have cultivated a wimp culture...it isn't any hotter in facilities than it was 30 and 40 years ago. We also have people that, by choice, have not taken steps to stay in good health (this goes for staff, inmate AND free-world people who have never committed a crime other than speeding). The State does not have a burden to molly-coddle people.

It is NOT torture to be in an un-air conditioned housing area. It is NOT extreme temperatures in that environment.

As to the claim of 'stay hydrated' reminders, it would certainly be just as true in south Texas as it was out west...without the humidity, it becomes VERY easy to find yourself dehydrated without realizing it. In West Texas, it was often windy, with temps in the mid-90's, but with no humidity to speak of. Farmers out there have LONG known to stay hydrated while on their land, and it was something that a lot of security staff did not think of because we had all mostly come from east of I-45 where 60% is often a LOW humidity. But one can absolutely stay hydrated without the need for air conditioning.
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Old 05-18-2016, 02:24 AM
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As said before: Please do talk to families who have lost someone in there due to heat related problems. The son of one particular family had been complaining about heat related health problems but medical staff just told him there were too many complains and they can't tend to everyone. Not much later this son / husband and father of 2 passed away.
With regard to the military as well as to many other manual jobs there is a reason why those works are carried out by fit and healthy men in their 20s and 30s.
And just because it was easier to sweep "some unfortunate deaths" under the carpet before, doesn't mean it was right back then or today.
I congratulate everyone who doesn't suffer from the heat in summer on their good health condition but our society is not just about the strong. We moved from Darwinism to Democracy (allegedly). And just because there are people worse off doesn't make an injustice right. That's like telling someone dying of cancer that there are children in 3rd world countries that don't even make it to their age ... it doesn't help anyone and two wrongs don't make it right.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:26 PM
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For those of you holier than thou people, A/C should not be something we have just because we arent in prison. Lets be honest, we all break the law every single day. How many of you speed on your way to work, or dont wear you seat belt, smoke marijuana (we know all these are things people do on a daily basis but its still considered breaking the law). We are all human and we all deserve that. Just because someone is in prison doesnt mean they should be treated the way they do. I would like to see some of you who think A/C should be a "privilege" to go sit in a Texas prison and have to suffer the same things they do. Some of the offenders dont even get to go outside the 4 walls unless they have a visit. They get outside rec taken away because short staff, etc. Quit thinking you are better than everyone else and realize me, you, and them are human and make mistakes. Doesnt mean they shouldnt get basic needs met.

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Old 05-20-2016, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockin Robin View Post
For those of you holier than thou people, A/C should not be something we have just because we arent in prison. Lets be honest, we all break the law every single day. How many of you speed on your way to work, or dont wear you seat belt, smoke marijuana (we know all these are things people do on a daily basis but its still considered breaking the law). We are all human and we all deserve that. Just because someone is in prison doesnt mean they should be treated the way they do. I would like to see some of you who think A/C should be a "privilege" to go sit in a Texas prison and have to suffer the same things they do. Some of the offenders dont even get to go outside the 4 walls unless they have a visit. They get outside rec taken away because short staff, etc. Quit thinking you are better than everyone else and realize me, you, and them are human and make mistakes. Doesnt mean they shouldnt get basic needs met.
It has absolutely nothing to do with being 'holier than thou' or thinking one is 'better' than those incarcerated. Too many people seem to presume that everyone in the free-world has or even wants A/C. It is also disingenuous to equate minor traffic violations that carry no risk of confinement with the deliberate commission of felonious conduct. But to carry the claim a step further, I KNOW that if I choose to commit a felony, get caught and somehow wind up with a sentence that includes incarceration, I ALSO chose to forfeit privileges that include access to a thermostat (not really anything I would miss though). Air conditioning is NOT a 'basic need.'

Some of us who disagree with trying to retrofit facilities with A/C HAVE been in the environment, even if not in a cell during the day. Personally, being in a cell would have been preferable comfort-wise to having to wear a bullet-proof vest to go onto B-4-2 row at Wynne during the summer. Very few offenders spend 24 hours a day in a cell. Thus the whole 'short staff can mean no outdoor rec' argument fails since they are out of the cell for other reasons, to include dayrooms that still have fans and air exchangers moving the air. It isn't a situation where one is cooped up with no air movement such as if one was in a locked car with the windows up in the middle of a parking lot.

And, I have yet to see anyone offer a counter to the reality that if this was such an issue, then why did the Plaintiff's attorneys in Ruiz not make it a priority during the hammering out of the Final Decree. Considering some of the other relatively major retrofits that were ordered, it seems that WWJ would certainly not have hesitated if it were a real issue.
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Old 05-20-2016, 07:46 AM
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Again, congrats on your strong health (since you seem to take a lot of pride in it). However, working in a place like the kitchen or laundry for hours, then coming back into your cell without ventilation or AC can be a health hazard, no matter whether you agree or not. Sure, for some people it might just be an inconvenience which they learn to deal with... for others, older inmates, or people who are not as lucky when it comes to their health it can have deadly consequences.

I know insensitive people tend to only see a problem once they (or one of their loved ones) have actually experienced it, but isn't just one death due to the lack of ventilation already one too many? I do think it is ... who doesn't agree really should talk to the families who have experienced the tragic lost of a loved one who was denied this simple form of relief.

As already stated before, many guards are actually supporting this effort because not only do they want to improve their working conditions but they "can't stand by and watch the suffering" anymore (direct quote from a guard who was working for the TDCJ for years).
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:36 PM
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I for one, work in a worshop and I deal with heat and exhaustion every single day. I know what these guys in prison are feeling like with the ventilation issues. But you cant sit here and tell me that all TDCJ facilities have running, working fans in every single dorm, it just isnt true. The facility where my loved one is, up until a few weeks ago, has NEVER had a working fan in his dorm since the day he stepped foot there, over a year ago. And because his facility is co-located with others, they pull staff every which way to cover other needs, so no, they do not always get the chance to get out of the dorms, and when they do try they get wrote up for being out of place. There have been times that the ONLY time he has gotten to be outside is for visits. He has gone months at a time without breathing fresh air, seeing the sunlight, or being out in the rec yard. My loved one isnt a "hardened criminal" as some people like to call them. Who is to say that all the arresting officers are legit anyways?! I personally know some pretty crooked ones so just because people are in prison doesnt really mean they deserve to be there. Im not taking up for the ones who have committed repeated crimes and are repeat or violent offenders, but my LO is there for something that shouldnt have even been classified the way it was, so I take this kind of stuff to heart. He isnt a violent or aggressive offender. He doesnt deserve to be treated the way he is just because of the way certain things happen. His charge should have never gone through the way it did, and its something that is being fought. We have many people behind us in our fight for whats right. Would you still feel the same way if your family members were in the same situation?! I bet not....

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Old 05-20-2016, 05:32 PM
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I don't think anyone is going to change the others' minds on this issue, so maybe it's time to put this discussion to rest. We all have our own opinions that are each valid in their own way, so let's just try to state our opinion while respecting the opinions of others and move on to either signing the petition or not. No need to create any conflict.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:35 PM
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I think there's always a conflict when somebody doesn't see harm when people are dying but you're right ... People who care sign, others won't. I just wanted to draw attention to the issue and the petition.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:42 PM
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In January "U.S. District Court Judge Keith Ellison sided with the prisoners. He certified a class action of all inmates who are, or will be, housed in the Pack Unit. He also approved two subclasses."

http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/0...eat-claims.htm
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sara1986 View Post
I know throughout the years this topic has been addressed frequently but I think the pressure on the ones responsible and the media coverage should be kept up. I was thinking about starting my own petition but since I'm relatively new to all this, I really don't know how
Online I found this petition on moveon.org titled: Lack of Proper ventilation and Air Conditioning in TDCJ Prisions

So, if your LO is, like mine, already suffering from the heat inside the prison, you should consider signing this petition and letting your friends and family know about this, too. If someone has more information on what we could do, I'm open to ideas and would be happy about hearing from you!
Thanks for the link - I signed.
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