Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons

Source: University of Texas School of Law Human Rights Clinic, April 2014

From the press release:
The University of Texas School of Law Human Rights Clinic has claimed in a new report that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) continues to violate human rights of the inmates in its facilities. Inmates are subjected to heat so extreme that, since 2007, at least fourteen have died as a result. These conditions have not only caused those deaths, but also pose a continuing threat to existing and future prisoners. The Human Rights Clinic finds in its report, Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons, that conditions in TDCJ prisons violate the human rights of its inmates. Ariel Dulitzky, the director of the Clinic, stressed that “because the TDCJ exercises complete control over prisoners in its facilities, it also bears the responsibility for guaranteeing the lives and health of all inmates.” The TDCJ fails to live up to this responsibility. Dulitzky says that the TDCJ has been aware that inmates have died from extreme heat since at least 1998, and it has been more than two years since the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the TDCJ for the death of an inmate due to organ failure resulting from exposure to extreme heat. In spite of this increased public scrutiny, says Dulitzky, the TDCJ has yet to address the issue by implementing proper measures to ensure the health of inmates…..