“It’s getting hotter and hotter outside… so tonight, we’re going to talk about Popsicles. There are a lot of them in America, and when they get too hot, it can be a real problem.” Maybe,” said the talk show host. “Sorry, did I say popsicles? I meant jail.”
The host then argued the heat poses the “real problem” for America’s captivity. “Don’t be surprised. You knew no fun was going on here,” he said. “Don’t get mad at me; be mad at yourself You chose to stay here.”
Oliver noted that he has spoken about “the injustices of mass confinement, and how little society cares about them” several times on his show. From his point of view, “a very good example of this” is the fact that, in some of the nation’s hottest states, including Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, more than half of prisons lack air conditioning in their housing areas. In Texas, he explained, “that’s the case” in about three-quarters of prisons, despite the fact that the heat index inside them can reach 150 degrees.
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Currently, he said, “there is a growing population of older inmates,” who are more sensitive to the heat. More than 40% of these people have a “chronic medical condition,” which puts them at an increased risk of heat stroke. “It is remarkably dangerous, and I would argue that the only time killing by heat is acceptable is if you have committed the crime of being a lobster,” he said. “But unless you happen to be a delicious sea weird and delicious donkey meat loaf with edible arms that pairs beautifully with melted butter, I’m going to say it’s horribly wrong.”
He continued to explain that “physical conditions” are just one part of the equation. The number of inmates in US prisons with mental health concerns is also increasing. Many of these people are taking medications, which can interfere with their body’s ability to regulate temperature. Because of this, many prisoners avoid taking medicine when the temperature rises. This then explains, he said, why “suicide clocks and the frequency of self-harm behaviors” have increased during the summer.
“The situation is so bad, the United Nations Committee against Torture has expressed particular concern about deaths from exposure to extreme heat in prison facilities in Texas,” Oliver said, “and when you probably considered that Texas US prisons were bad, probably not ‘International Human Rights Watch’ list ‘poor’.
Oliver knows that some viewers may be thinking, “Well, come on. This is a prison. These prisoners shouldn’t be comfortable.” And to this he adds, “F**k you.
“They are human beings who, I would argue, deserve humane treatment, no matter what they did,” he continued, noting that “even if you are completely at odds with our current system of punitive justice on a ridiculous scale.” are on board,” are there really people directly perpetuating the prison system who find the situation unforgivable.
Oliver said another common argument for denying inmates proper air conditioning is that it would be too expensive to install. Another point expressed by politicians, including Texas State Sen. John Whitmore, is that they simply “don’t want to give in”.
While many times the prisoners leave without AC, in many cases it is provided to the jail staff. In at least one case reported by ABC News 8 in 2015, it was also being provided for the Texas prison’s in-house pig farms.
“Look, I am not against giving easy treatment to pigs. I love pigs. Pigs are like big, chubby dogs that you can eat at Christmas,” Oliver said. “I just question humans prioritizing their comfort.”
While hosts say that “correction systems seem to acknowledge” that they have an issue with heat, they also often deal with the issue through half-measures, which include large fans and water misters, Which can at times be reversed, causing “heat stress” the prisoner experiences.
Ultimately, all of this equates to a “deadly condition,” which Oliver notes is “only going to get worse, especially as the summers are getting hotter and hotter.”
“While this is clearly just a small part of the much larger discussion about whether prisons should exist in this country, until we is That discussion, there is actually a simple solution to this one problem, and that is, prisons need air conditioning, so put air conditioning. That’s it,” concluded Oliver. “I know this show trained you to guess the specifics, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. We shouldn’t be cooking prisoners to death, the ending.”