Texas judge orders prison to provide inmates with safe drinking water


#21

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.


#22

Talk to your bank manager.


#23

“Today we’ve secretly replaced CarManinAZ2015’s water with water laced with up to 50 ppb of arsenic. Let’s see if he or she notices.”


#24

First off, if the air circulation is poor, 88 indoors feels like a lot more. Second, it might be a good idea to air condition prisons to help keep the prisoners under control. The correlation between hot weather and crime is well studied. The tendency of non-prison riots to occur in the hottest part of summer has been obvious for a long time. Making your prisoners maximally angry, uncomfortable and irritable may not be the best idea from a security stand point.


#25

It figures that the Andersonville prison was such a hellhole. Anyone committed to slavery rejects the notion that having rights comes with being biologically human. And if blacks don’t have rights neither do n----rlovers.


#26

This is the same state that stopped honoring death-row prisoners’ requests for last meals, because last meals of choice are too good for them.


#27

That fits in with the conservative talking point that “the poor aren’t so bad off - they have air conditioning!” That might mean something if it’s typical of the poor in Seattle, but in the Sunbelt, air conditioning is a necessity.


#28

“Prison isn’t meant to be comfortable.”

Alternative forms:

● A prison is not a four-star hotel.
● These people are there because they committed crimes.
● Are we supposed to give them luxuries that not all law-abiding citizens have?


#29

Bingo.

The point that is almost universally missed in these “prisoners are being coddled” talking points is that most of that “coddling” is usually there at the request of the prison guards.

I had a mate who worked in the prisons. He absolutely hated it when this sort of thing came up, because he knew that there was a direct correlation between “take away the inmate’s TV viewing privileges” (for example) and the number of guards assaulted by inmates.

Guarding violent criminals is a shitty job. Guarding bored and cranky violent criminals is an even shittier job.


#30

If you know of workplaces like this, it’s your civic (and human) duty to report them to the authorities.


#31

That’d be my workplace, actually.

But I do work in the Australian outdoors, and we’ve got a standing policy that anyone is able to say “fuck it, minimum wage ain’t enough to put up with this” and stay home on a hot day without getting fired.

Still, despite that, a few employees usually end up hospitalised due to heat each year. I was carried out of the bush by paramedics myself a few months ago.


#32

Don’t forget that the post gets likes as well.


#33

I try not to think about it.


#34

Did they actually get rid of it? Last I checked they just clamped it to “Your last meal can’t be worth more than $20”


#35

It’s 100+ degree heat they have no relief from because they can’t leave and it’s not a job they can quit. Inland Texas is ungodly hot in the summer, reasonable people in more civilized times would recognize this as cruel and unusual punishment.


#36

Recent and outstanding MotherJones article on private jails in America makes the current prison system look a lot like Andersonville.


#37

Can you quit prison?


#38

Sure, many do so every year:

http://www.npr.org/2015/07/27/426742309/the-shock-of-confinement-the-grim-reality-of-suicide-in-jail

[Edit: Yes, I know that jail is short-term confinement whereas prison is long-term. The suicide rate of the latter is lower. Its significance is not.]


#39

Society needs to get over its obsession with retribution. Punishment is a crude tool to get people to do what you want. Has no one ever supervised children?


#40

A whole bunch of that article is:

CCA’s spokesman says the company had no knowledge of [insert something the reporter witnessed here].

I don’t think that confessing that you have no idea what is actually going on in your prisons should be a good admission to make.