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Federal Judge Rules That Texas Prisons Must Provide AC To Some Inmates

This comes after a lawsuit against the state, for unsafe conditions for inmates without air conditioning.

The state has about two weeks to make a plan ensuring that a little under 500 vulnerable inmates are housed in units less than 88 degrees. This would be for elderly, disabled, and other heat-sensitive inmates at the Wallace Pack Unit, northwest of Houston.

Federal judge Keith Ellison’s temporary injunction also requires the state to develop a heat-wave policy, install insect-proof window screens, and provide easy access to respite areas.

A group of prisoners at the pack unit had sued the state over unsafe conditions, back in 2014.

In a statement, Wallis Nader, a staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said, “All Texans, regardless of whether they are incarcerated, deserve dignity and respect.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to appeal the ruling, saying the state has taken significant measures to mitigate the effects of the sweltering conditions.

According to court documents, 22 inmates have died of heat stroke in Texas prisons since 1998, and 100 had heat-related injuries last year.

The injunction is a temporary solution until the case goes to trial.

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