July 2, 2004
Supermax will be cooler
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of Chief Judge Barbara Crabb of the western district, ordering the state of Wisconsin to live up to its promise to reduce the heat at its supermax prison to 80-84 degrees. This is a health issue, not a "comfort issue," as inmates could die in the conditions found there during heat waves.
The court made short shrift of the state's only argument. You will enjoy this: "Only one argument as to why air conditioning would not be a practical means to cool the cells at Supermax was offered. Defendents incredibly argued that the air conditioning of cells at Supermax to a balmy temperature between 80 and 84 degrees during summer heat waves would entice inmates at other prisons to attack prison guards and/or other inmates in order to be transferred there. This is despite the fact that Supermax inmates are held in windowless cells for all but four to five hours a week and have almost no human contact. We agree with the District Court that this proposition is dubious in the extreme."
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