Seth Topek
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Criminal Defense Attorney: Defending the Rights of the Accused and the Incarcerated
Posted on Sep 09, 2013

    The local American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees announced it’s support of the lawsuits filed as a result of the deaths of at least fourteen inmates from heat related causes against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  This is the union that represents Texas’ corrections officer.  The union spokesperson stated that the conditions are dangerous not only to inmates but also to the employees.  Prison officials dispute the claim that conditions inside the prison are dangerous and believe that they take sufficient precautions to ensure the safety of offenders.

    While it is unclear what the cost of putting in some form of air conditioning into prison units it has been estimated at more than fifty five million dollars.  Texas officials point to other southern states such as Louisiana and Mississippi who have non-air conditioned units as proof that Texas’s system is not unreasonable.  While in times of budgetary stress many ask if this is the best place to spend money and believe that the uncomfortable life in TDCJ is part of the punishment it is not clear that this would justify keeping human beings in conditions that were seen to be unfit for a pig.  It also should not be forgotten that many people in prison are individuals who made a bad choice, have accepted responsibility and are paying for it and will return to society and become contributing members of their families and communities one day.  The choice here is not between a four star hotel and the current conditions of prisons.  No one argues that prison should be a comfortable enjoyable place only that it should be safe.