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Federal Court Says Texas Inmates Exposed to Extreme Temperatures Violates 8th Amendment


A U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that allowing an inmate to be "exposed to extreme temperatures can constitute a violation of the Eighth Amendment." The case was remanded back to the district court for a new trial.

The case, which involved a 64-year-old former Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate suffered from hypertension and other medical ailments, claimed that the extreme heat the prisoners endured amounted to unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

"This is a huge victory for all Texas prisoners," said Scott Medlock, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project's Prisoners' Rights Program. "Hopefully this decision will force TDCJ to reconsider housing prisoners in such dangerous conditions." 

TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark said agency officials had not reviewed the opinion and could not comment. 

Only 21 of the 111 TDCJ units are fully air-conditioned.  An additional 90 units are partially air-conditioned in the offices, medical and education areas but not in the housing areas.

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