So, a while back I interviewed the author of Losing Our Cool, a book about the environmental consequences of widespread air-conditioning. This was for my local community radio’s environmental affairs program. At one point we got into the topic of construction. Something to keep in mind is that while people have inhabited unair-conditioned spaces for most of human history, buildings were also constructed differently. They were designed to channel air to take advantage of cross breezes. This made otherwise uninhabitable places livable.
In a sense, putting these prisoners in tents is better than putting them into what’s effectively a giant hotbox. Air conditioning is not mere luxury, we’ve engineered our structures to need it. Then there’s the proven fact that keeping people in the heat makes people more aggressive. Prisoners don’t need to be learning to become more aggressive.
I knew a guy who was in prison for robbing the Harlem Globetrotters tour bus (no joke). He told me he was stabbed by someone one summer while the prisoners stewed indoors. Apparently the guy hadn’t made up his shank properly and he barely punctured the skin, but the incident was largely unprovoked except for the oppresive heat.