Over a dozen deaths linked to lack of air conditioning in Texas - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Over a dozen deaths linked to lack of air conditioning in Texas prisons

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More than a dozen deaths are being linked to no air condition inside Texas prisons; something a new report is calling unconstitutional.

The University of Texas Law School's Human Rights Clinic is recommending the Texas Department of Criminal Justice put air-condition in all 109 state-run prisons.

In the meantime, they are also asking that temperatures not exceed 85-degrees this summer.

This stems from a report the clinic released Tuesday, showing some jail cells to have a heat index of up to 115 degrees during the summer months.

More than half of Texas prisons are built with metal outer walls making them among the hottest.

Prison reports show 19 convicts have died since 1998 from heat-related illnesses.

There are currently six pending lawsuits over eight of those deaths, most of which happened in East Texas.

The Texas Civil Rights Project says every county jail in the state is required to maintain temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees year round.

The TDCJ has defended their current policies regarding summer heat, which include supplying ice water and fans to increase air movement.

The report notes that according to the Centers for Disease Control, those measures are ineffective in preventing heat-related injuries in very hot and humid conditions.

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