After 121 summers, Mississippi’s oldest and largest prison is finally getting air conditioning. “Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said 48 air conditioning units have been installed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman buildings so far, covering 40% of the prison population.
This summer’s punishing temperatures are a reminder of the dangers of extreme weather especially for the incarcerated. Multiple courts have ruled incarceration in extremely hot or cold temperatures is unconstitutional, but despite these rulings there isn’t a national standard for managing extreme temperatures in jails.
In North Carolina, 15,400 beds (or 40% of the state’s prison capacity) are in unairconditioned rooms. The state’s largest facility for women, North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women in Raleigh, is one of the 39 facilities not fully air conditioned. 75% of the beds at NCCIW are subject to temperatures of 100 degrees.
How can we protect vulnerable people during these unprecedented weather seasons?