John Oliver has sounded the alarm about the dangers of heat in American prisons and that a lack of air conditioning can often be fatal for inmates.
The Last Week Tonight host kicked off his show by saying that “the heat in prisons is a big deal” and that in some of the hottest states more than half of the prisons lack air conditioning. In Texas, it is almost 75% of the installations.
Almost 40% of inmates suffer from a chronic illness which can be aggravated by heat and lead to heat stroke or death. “The only time to be heat murdered is okay if you’ve committed the crime of being a lobster,” Oliver said.
The summer months also lead to an increase in suicide cases and self-harm incidents.
The argument often used is that the cost of installation is too high, but Oliver told the story of Texas which already spent $ 7 million on a lawsuit against adding a single jail when the cost n would have been only $ 4 million.
“In some prisons there is climate control – but not for the prisoners,” he said, telling the story not only of the staff having access to fresh air, but also, in one case , from a pig farm on site.
“Correction systems seem to recognize that they have a heat problem. It’s just that they often try to treat it with ridiculous half-measures, ”he added, while showing a video instructing staff on how to help overheated prisoners by fanning them and pouring water on them. water on the face. Oliver said he’s “just not going to cut it.”
He told the story of a man who received an 11-month sentence for cashing a bad check and one day collapsed with a body temperature of 109F. He received delayed medical treatment and later died. “The prisoners in this country are desperately uncomfortable and sometimes die from the heat and no one seems to care enough to do anything,” he said.
It’s not just Texas, but Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Michigan, Oliver added.
“It is a deadly situation and it will only get worse, especially as the summers are getting hotter and hotter,” he said.
Oliver ended the show by stating that this was not a nuanced situation. “This one is really quite simple: we shouldn’t be cooking prisoners to death,” he said.
He added, “Locking human beings in rooms with a heat rating of 150 degrees begs the question: how the hell can anyone think it’s okay to do this. “