Judge orders Texas to lower temperature in sweltering prison

HOUSTON - A federal judge has given state prison officials 15 days to come up with a plan to lower the temperature to 88 degrees (31.11 Celsius) inside a Southeast Texas prison where attorneys for inmates say the sweltering summer heat is endangering their health.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison's preliminary injunction applies to about 500 "heat-sensitive" inmates at the Pack Unit, about 65 miles (104.6 kilometers) northwest of Houston. Those prisoners already have a variety of health conditions or are at least 65 years old.

Ellison held a nine-day hearing last month where lawyers for six inmates sought emergency relief.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials contended they provide showers, fans and ice water.

Ellison says that's not enough and says the prison system is "deliberately indifferent" to the heat risks.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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