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Judge threatens to keep Texas prison staff in hot cells under "depressing" conditions



A federal judge in Houston threatened to subject Texas prison staff to the same "depressing" conditions as prisoners Friday, openly considering keeping them in cells subjected to intense heat.

"It seems the most obvious sanction is pretty simple," U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison said during an emergency hearing on Friday, according to the Texas Tribune. "We need to have prison staff in jail at the same temperature."

Allison discusses imposing financial and other sanctions to ensure that officers obey court orders and install an air conditioner at the Wolves Packet Prison, around 95 miles from Houston. [1

9659004] "Should we not penalize prison staff in cells that handle the same temperatures as prisoners?", Judge asked Leah O'Leary, representing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

HUMAN MAN, FIRST TO BE INSTRUCTIONS FOR PERFORMANCE OF A STATION FROM THE FEDERAL BAS adding, "You have our attention."

"I'm afraid I don't," replied Allison, who questioned the effectiveness of financial penalties, as the burden would fall on taxpayers, not officials.

If he decides to hold officials in the courtroom after an attempt, they will likely be taken to a federal detention center – which is air-conditioned – the prison lawyer said.

Friday's hearing was the latest in a five-year legal battle over the heat in the Package Unit, according to the Texas Tribune.

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In 2017, Ellison considered the lack of air conditioning in the summer in Texas and Texas "Punished and ordered the agency to draw up a plan to keep the heat index, a combination of temperature and humidity, not higher than 88 degrees in the Pack Unit. He also ruled that TDCJ was deliberately indifferent to the heat-related health hazards.

The settlement affected about 1300 prisoners in the Pack Pack, which have air-conditioning and temperature monitoring equipment. According to the settlement, if any of these 1,300 prisoners are transferred to other prisons, they will still be subject to the conditions of the settlement in their new establishments.

At the hearing on Friday, Jeff Edwards, an inmate lawyer, accused staff members of the prison who failed to adequately address the problems in the packing unit and did not monitor temperatures and resolve air conditioning problems in various prisons, some of the 1300 inmates have been moved since the case was settled last year.

Prisoners from the group The department, which moved to the Stiles department in Southeast Texas, reported in July that the air conditioner was down and the heat made them feel "disoriented," nasty "and seemed to be on the verge of" disappearance, "according to court documents filed this week.

Mr Leary said that the state had taken steps to remedy the problem, including moving most of the 1,300 prisoners back to the packing department. For those prisoners who cannot be sent back to the packing unit, Mr. Leary said that the prison system had ordered thermostats to be installed in the residential areas of those prisoners so that temperatures could be monitored.

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Allison delayed deciding on possible sanctions until she heard from staff, including jail guards, at a hearing Tuesday. Allison said while the settlement is only for the Pack unit, he believes all prisons in Texas should have air conditioning.

Including Pack, Texas has 29 air-conditioned prisons. The other 75 are partially chilled or not cooled at all. During this year's legislative session, prison officials estimated it could cost about $ 1 billion to install air conditioning in prison units that do not have one.

The figures presented earlier in court show that at least 22 Texas prisoners have died from a heat stroke since 1998, though none in the Pack Unit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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