What may be considered a luxury to some, climate control in prisons can be a matter of life and death. Across the country, over one million people are incarcerated in areas where the summer heat can become deadly. Prisons in the south, especially in Texas, can reach temperatures in excess of 140°F. Prisoners can be subject to heat illness and even worse heat stroke, especially those who are sick or elderly. A 2014 report found that since 2007, at least fourteen inmates have died from extreme heat exposure in Texas prisons.
Managing hot temperatures in prisons not only affects prisoner health, but also the wellness and effectiveness of prison staff. Without proper cooling, prison staff can be exposed to heat safety related problems, such as loosing concentration and focus. Excessive heat, even in short durations, can result in heat stress and heat injuries.
Heat related inmate deaths are spawning lawsuits under the 8th Amendment which protects prisoners from cruel and unusual punishment. Over the years, judges from Arizona to Wisconsin have declared that the 8th Amendment forbids incarceration in extremely hot or cold temperatures. Courts are finding it borderline impossible to deny this constitutional right because extreme heat undoubtedly exposes individuals to substantial risk of serious harm and potential death. Still, prison reform activists encounter deep resistance with officials in their quest to cool the nation’s cells.
Officials offer a multitude of justifications for the absence of air conditioning and for their reliance on cold showers, plentiful liquids, and fans to help prisoners manage in the heat. Some contend that central air conditioning systems are prohibitively expensive to install, particularly in older facilities. With prison costs becoming a hot topic in the nation, prison reform activists push for other more economic climate control solutions.
A Florida based company, Breezer Mobile Cooling, has developed innovative cooling solutions to help cool environments where air conditioning is not a viable option. Their flagship product, Power Breezer, is capable of cooling 3,000 sq.ft. by up to 27°F. This cooling solution utilizes an evaporative cooling system, combining jet engine technology with fluid dynamics principles to deliver a powerful, focused, and quiet air stream. Atomizing technology creates tiny water droplets that easily evaporate for maximum cooling. Power Breezer is mobile and portable and can be set up in any location. Thanks to Power Breezer, hot temperatures can be successfully managed, which results in safer and healthier conditions for prisoners and staff alike.