Guards to join convict litigation over hot state prisons

 Tuesday, September 3, 2013

 Austin American-Statesman

The union that represents Texas’ correctional officers on Thursday announced its support for lawsuits filed over the deaths of at least 14 convicts in sweltering state prisons, saying the lockups should be cooled to relieve unbearable and dangerous conditions. At a time when civil-rights lawsuits are pending in several Southern states, where the summer heat is hottest and most state prisons are not air conditioned, the development could add new impetus to a public debate in Texas over whether the time has come for some form of cooling systems. At a press conference in Austin, Lance Lowry, president of a Huntsville-based local of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, said the union plans to join in pending litigation — including a possible request for federal court intervention over temperatures inside prisons that he said can reach 130 degrees on some days.
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