My fame was delayed due to not filming theatrical performances

2023-07-09 17:03:00

The heat wave in the southern United States turns prisons into “hell”

On the Fourth of July, while the United States was celebrating its Independence Day by setting off firecrackers across the country, Joseph Martyr passed out in his cell in Texas, after suffering from a health problem due to the heat that turns prisons into something like “hell.”

In these establishments with walls made of concrete, brick and steel, the air is brought in by means of large industrial fans, often without any air conditioners. And when the temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius, it can be even hotter indoors.

The situation is so miserable that some prisoners deliberately block the toilets so that they overflow, so that they can sleep on the wet floor in search of some refreshment, according to current and former prisoners and relatives interviewed by «Agence France Presse».

Joseph Martyr, 35, developed four heat-related illnesses in just a few weeks. “I passed out, but no one came to save me,” he told his family, whom he called by phone from Estelle Prison in Huntsville, Texas, where he has been languishing for 16 years.

His relatives contacted the prison administration to ask for help. According to Martyr, in the event of a problem, the prisoners rely on the solidarity of the other prisoners, who shout to get the guards’ attention; Because the prison suffers from a shortage of workers.

Then he was taken to an administrative area of ​​the prison with air conditioning, which the prisoners call the “rest” corner, and Martyr always tries to stay in this point for as long as possible. He told his family, “I have health problems because of the heat, and I don’t want to add to it.”

“What these prisoners experience is like being locked inside the passenger compartment of a car in 40 degrees Celsius, and trying to cool off the heat by opening the window a little, or using a hair dryer to get some heat,” says Amiteh Dominique, president of the Texas Prisoners’ Advocacy Association (TPCA). On a little air.

According to the Texas Tribune, at least 9 people died in June in prisons in this state, from heart attacks or from unknown causes that may be heat-related.

Texas Department of Corrections spokeswoman Amanda Hernandez confirms that the last heat-related death was in 2012. However, she confirms that 7 ailments in June required medical attention other than first aid.

This administration runs prisons that hold 126,000 people. According to its data, 32 prisoners died in June from causes unrelated to the weather.

However, Amity Dominique objects to this version, and says: “The forensic doctor generally records deaths as a result of a heart attack,” which is one of the symptoms associated, according to her, with heatstroke. Dominique points out that the prisons “do not have good ventilation,” and that “if the prisoners escaped death, they would inevitably go crazy.”

And it seems that the situation is not on the way to improvement. A report published in 2022 by the non-governmental climate organization “Climate Central” predicted that due to climate change, Texas will record in 2050 an average of 115 days of “serious or very dangerous” heat, with temperatures up to to or above 39.4°C (103°F), compared to about 60 days now.

Sean Adams (36 years old) spent his sentence in another prison in Texas, Clemens Prison, which is likened to “hell.” In this “red-brick” facility, according to Adams, when the outside temperature is 38 degrees Celsius, that means it will be 10 degrees higher inside. The prison administration confirms that the cells have ice and water, and that prisoners can rest in air-conditioned spaces.

For her part, Samantha, the mother of a 25-year-old inmate who prefers not to be named, says that in June, a heat wave took the lives of three women at Lane Moray prison, where her daughter is being held. She describes the prison situation as “inhumane”.

Michelle Lively, the fiancee of Sean McMahon, 49, who is imprisoned in Wayne Prison, explains, “Some (prisoners) are tried for minor crimes such as drugs, but they are actually sentenced to death; Because they can’t stand the heat.

The staff, who are in insufficient numbers in the prison, complain about the deterioration of working conditions due to these heat waves, speaking of taking tours in heat exceeding 43 degrees Celsius, during which they are forced to wear bulletproof vests, in the face of prisoners angry with the heat.

According to Amity Dominic, bills have been introduced to make air conditioning mandatory in prisons, but the conservative majority in the Texas Senate has consistently rejected it.

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