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New article: To Stop Heat Deaths in Prisons, 'We Need a Federal Mandate,' Say Advocates

A story of mine just published in The New Republic. I hope you’ll read it, but here are a few of the highlights:

—> At least nine people have died in Texas prisons in the midst of a brutal heat wave the last few weeks. Some of their loved ones suspect it was because of the heat.

—> As I wrote here and here, this is nothing new. However, I’ve never seen media pay so much attention to these kind of deaths. I credit years of organizing by grassroots groups of prisoners' loved ones, like Texas Prisons Community Advocates (TPCA).

—> Texas Senators JUST failed to pass a bill that would have put the state on a path to air conditioning the two-thirds of facilities that are mostly un-airconditioned in living areas.

—> HOWEVER passing legislation in Texas wouldn’t fully resolve the problem — because research shows that people are dying because of heat in un-airconditioned prisons across the U.S. “We need a federal mandate,” TPCA’s head Amite Dominick told me.

—> Luckily, folks are starting to organize around this issue across the U.S. I highlighted a few reports and policy recommendations published in the past year out of California, Louisiana, and New Jersey.

For more, read the whole piece here.