To: The TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Summer Heat Serves Texas Prisoners an Early Death Sentence

Summer Heat Serves Texas Prisoners an Early Death Sentence

Petition Text

Sign this petition demanding that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice immediately enforce the guidelines of the Texas Prisoners’ Civil Rights Manual by implementing air-conditioning systems throughout all housing units in Texas state prisons and enforcing maximum temperature guidelines.

Why is this important?

In the recent summer months, an unreleased number of heat-related deaths have taken place throughout Texas state prisons. With internal temperatures reportedly reaching up to 140 degrees on some days and only 30 of the 109 Texas state prisons having facility-wide air-conditioning, a number of incarcerated men and women have died by means of heat stroke, asthma attacks, extreme dehydration, and various other heat-related illnesses.

“Prisoners look upon the summer months in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) with dread and trepidation. For one is acutely aware that one may not survive another summer. Many do not.” -- Benny Hernandez, Price Daniel Unit, Dallas, Texas

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice houses more than 146,000 inmates and is currently in the middle of a lawsuit over what many prisoners and prison activists have described as "deadly heat" in its facilities. Instead of making plans to install central-air systems inside of the prisons, TDCJ officials have taken steps to minimize costs and accountability by placing fans in common areas and increasing ice distribution throughout the day.

“Prison guards are suffering also. They too are exposed to the deadly extreme heat, which causes tension and conflict between guards and inmates.” -- Keith “Malik” Washington, H. H. Coffield Unit, Tennessee Colony, Texas

At the Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, prisoners have to choose between drinking water contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic or becoming dehydrated because of the extreme summer heat. Despite widespread knowledge of the cancer-causing pollutants, prison officials have continued to encourage inmates to drink at least two gallons a day. Those who are aware of the dangerous water situation try their best to drink bottled water only, when available at commissary.

“It routinely feels as if one’s sitting in a convection oven being slowly cooked alive.” -- Benny Hernandez, Price Daniel Unit, Dallas, Texas

This attitude of reckless indifference exhibited by prison authorities and Texas officials is a violation of basic human rights as well as the 8th constitutional amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

Sign this petition demanding that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice immediately enforce the guidelines of the Texas Prisoners’ Civil Rights Manual by implementing air-conditioning systems throughout all housing units in Texas state prisons and enforcing maximum temperature guidelines.

Deadly Heat in U.S. Prisons is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits:
https://theintercept.com/2016/08/24/deadly-heat-in-u-s-prisons-is-killing-inmates-and-spawning-lawsuits/


Reasons for signing

  • Is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice trying to give as many prisoners as possible the death penalty by way of overheating? Must they be reminded that cruel and unusual punishment is expressly forbidden by the Constitution?
  • Torture is torture. This must stop.
  • No one should die for lack of air conditioning in a state that is know for its high temperatures this is a violent act against the prisoners. Close it.

Updates

2017-09-23 20:20:27 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2017-09-10 15:35:07 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2016-09-26 23:54:41 -0400

500 signatures reached

2016-09-06 11:46:56 -0400

100 signatures reached

2016-09-06 10:14:27 -0400

50 signatures reached

2016-09-06 09:24:54 -0400

25 signatures reached

2016-09-06 09:05:34 -0400

10 signatures reached