At least 14 Texas prisoners have died from overheating since 2007, according to a new report by the University of Texas School of Law Human Rights Clinic. The Texas Tribune said findings in the 40-page report echo claims made in lawsuits over eight inmate deaths that the Texas Civil Rights Project filed against the state’s Department of Criminal Justice on behalf of the deceased inmates and their families.
The UT report said prison workers are exposed to the same extreme conditions and recommended that state officials install air conditioning and keep temperatures at the facilities below 85 degrees. Prison officials argue that adding equipment would be too costly and that the agency takes adequate measures to ensure the safety of both inmates and employees in its prisons. Prisoner advocates have an ally in the Texas correctional officers’ union, which has been complaining about the heat for years.