Day after day of sweltering triple-digit temperatures are creating miserable conditions for thousands of inmates and guards inside Oklahoma prisons, The Oklahoman reports. Most cellblocks in the men’s units are not air-conditioned. Inmates are complaining, with some areas of the state having experienced 100-degree or greater temperatures for more than 50 days this year. A temperature check in one cell revealed a temperature of 96 degrees. Some of the air-conditioned cellblocks have experienced periodic outages because buildings and air-conditioning units in the prison system are so old.
Chief medical officer Don Sutmiller said there have been no reported cases of inmates suffering heat strokes this year. He said inmates learn adaptation tricks, like dampening their cover sheets before they go to bed at night and setting fans so they blow over the tops of them, creating a cooling effect through evaporation. “I’m not trying to say that I think these guys are comfortable,” he said. Said one inmate: “They expect us to go out and work like men in construction, plumbing, landscape and various other trades and then want us to come 'home’ to the extreme heat and misery because we have no A/C. No one can sleep in these conditions. I know if an individual in the free world were to have his animals in these conditions he would face 'cruelty to animals’ charges in a heartbeat.”