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Climate Change, Heat Waves Heighten Concerns Around Prisons’ Lack of Air Conditioning

According to a recent analysis, at least 44 U.S. states, including those with some of the highest temperatures nationally, don’t have universal air conditioning in their prisons, reports USA Today. As climate change continues to fuel hotter temperatures across the country, advocates for incarcerated people are sounding the alarm about sweltering conditions in U.S. prisons, where current infrastructure is ill-equipped for a problem on track to worsen.

Advocates say the hot conditions in prisons may constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. In Texas, for example, only about 30 percent of the roughly 100 prison facilities in the state are fully air-conditioned. Meanwhile, only four of Alabama’s 26 state correctional facilities have air conditioning in all dormitories, while just 24 percent of Florida’s state-run prison housing units are air-conditioned.

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