Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
FAMM DISAPPOINTED IN THE CHANGES TO TEXAS HEAT BILL
Instead of providing relief to prisoners during extremely hot summers, the bill calls for a two-year study and report on the cost of providing air conditioning in prisons.
AUSTIN, TEXAS — FAMM today expressed disappointment in the Texas House Committee on Corrections for watering down HB 936, a bill that was introduced to address the lack of air conditioning in Texas prisons. The bill originally required the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to maintain humane temperature standards between 65 and 85 degrees within all state prisons. The bill was amended to instead mandate that the TDCJ to study the cost of providing air conditioning in all Texas state prisons and submit a report to lawmakers by August 2020.
“This is a total cop-out,” FAMM President Kevin Ring said. “We don’t need a study to know that people in state prisons are more likely to die every year of hyperthermia and other heat-related illnesses because of the lack of air conditioning. The legislature should have stepped up to the plate and acted, instead of kicking this can down the road another two years,” Ring said.
Since 2007, at least 14 people have died due to extreme heat conditions in Texas prisons. Last month, FAMM partnered with Texas Prisons Air-Conditioning Advocates to ask state lawmakers to take a three-minute “Beat the Heat” challenge and experience the extreme heat conditions of a mock prison cell near the State Capitol. FAMM also submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Corrections in March, urging lawmakers to advance HB 936 and require TDCJ to maintain humane temperature standards.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies in 6 states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.
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