We all know it can get hot in Texas. Especially in the summer. In July of last year, the National Weather Service reported an average high of 98.5 degrees for the month. The heat can be unbearable — especially for those without access to air-conditioning.

Prisoners are one of those groups without that access, generally. A new bill in the Texas Legislature would change that. House Bill 1708, which passed in the House on April 26, would require facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to be maintained at temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


(51) comments

Pete Nanos

Please list any prisons in Texas that don't provide air conditioning.

Bailey Jones

Pete, this has all been widely reported in the media. Most Texas prisons don't have AC. Two-thirds, in fact. It's brutal for the prisoners and brutal for the staff, many of whom work double or triple shifts. Temperatures routinely exceed 110 degrees in the summer. One unit peaked at 149F, according to a Texas A&M report.

That's why last month the Texas House committed to spend $545 million to install air conditioning in 46 of the worst Texas prisons. The bill died in the state senate, despite Texas having a 32 billion$ surplus this year.

It's little wonder that TDC can't find staff willing to work.

Pete Nanos

So, produce the list. Something in the wording stood out when I researched it.

Gary Scoggin

Pete, can you be more specific? What do you mean by something standing out? Thanks.

Bailey Jones

Pete, I wasn't able to find Texas prisons listed by amenities.

I'll have to refer you to the legislation I referenced - https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/HB01971I.pdf




And the house budget I referenced - https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/88R/billtext/pdf/HB00001H.pdf

And the relevant scientific analysis - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2798097

If you have information contrary to what I have presented I'd love to see it.

Pete Nanos

Just give me one or two of these prisons .

Jim Forsythe

Lane Murray women's prison in Gatesville, Texas. This is just one...

Pete Nanos

Mr Jones, do you not find it interesting that you cannot verify even one prison?

Jim Forsythe

How many do you want Pete?

Jim Forsythe

Pete, Ferguson Unit is another that has no A.C.

David Segovia lay on the floor of his Texas prison cell and wondered if this was how he was going to die. Living on the highest tier of a cellblock in East Texas’ Ferguson Unit, he couldn’t lie in his metal bed — it was hot to the touch. Instead, he wet the floor or his sheets with the hot water that came out of his sink and spread out on the concrete. He still couldn’t sleep.

Bailey Jones

Pete, let me put your mind at ease -

Texas prisons with AC in no prisoner housing -

Baten, Beto, Byrd, Clemons, Coffield, Ellis, Ferguson, Goree, Hightower, Hilltop, Lopez, Luther, Memorial Darrington Unit, Powledge, Ramsey, Stringfellow, Terrell, Vance, Wainwright, Wynee.

Texas prisons with AC in only some prisoner housing –

Allred, Boyd, Bradshaw, Briscoe, Clements, Cole, Connally, Crain, Dalhart, Daniel, Dominguez, Estelle, Formby, Gara West, Gist, Goodman, Hobby, Holliday, Hughes, Hutchins, Jester III, Johnston, Jordon, Lewis, Lynchner, McConnell, Michael, Middleton, Montford, Moore, Mountain View, Murray, Plane, Polunsky, Roach, Roberson, Sanchez, Sayle, Segovia, Smith, Stevenson, Stiles, Telford, Torres, Wallace, Wheeler, Woodman, and Young.

Pete Nanos

Well ,Mr Forsythe, I contacted the Women's prison you gave me and as I thought. The have air-conditioning. I suspect that you could give me a list and all of them have air-conditioning.

Jim Forsythe

Leroy, did you call the Lane Murray women's prison in Gatesville, Texas or the Dr. Lane Murray Unit which is a medium-security women's prison located in Gatesville, Texas.

The Dr. Lane Murray Unit is air conditioned, not the rest.

Pete Nanos

Mr Forsythe, did find that the Ferguson unit does not have air-conditioning. So I stand corrected. Have close ties with law enforcement around the state and country. First I've heard of this.

Jim Forsythe

Should have said Pete not Leroy in the above post.

Bailey Jones

Pete, I appreciate your willingness to "stand corrected". I hope you subject all of your news sources to this level of suspicion. Whatever those mysterious news sources might be.

Pete Nanos

Mr. Jones, while I have used news sources, I do a lot of research without relying on them. This one was easy to research once I had something to work with. Contributions from Mr. Forsythe were not exactly spot on, but gave enough to get to the information I was seeking.

Paula Flinn

Pam Lynchner State Jail in Atascocita, TX had no AC 15 to 20 years ago. I wrote a letter to then Governor George W. Bush saying that some of the big fans were broken, and the heat was over 100 degrees in the prisoner living areas. They only had one hour a day outside. The Officers are in the middle in an enclosed air conditioned station monitoring them. The water fountains had tepid to warm water in them.

The summer living conditions were brutal.

I received a form letter back saying that the Governor would “look into it.” Nothing was done.

Carlos Ponce

And Paula Flinn did not offer to replace the broken fans.[rolleyes]

Paula Flinn

It’s the State of Texas’ responsibility to repair or replace those large fans, Carlos.

Carlos Ponce

It's always someone else's responsibility.[rolleyes]

How many individual fans have you bought for inmates? I have.

Carlos Ponce

By the way... Pam Lynchner State Jail is in HUMBLE, TX on Atascocita Road. It was built in July 1995.

Paula Flinn

Right, Carlos!

Stephanie Martin

I agree. It’s a tough job. No wonder they can’t keep employees.

Jim Forsythe

One can argue about the number of people that died in prison because of heat, but one cannot say that prisoners are being housed in a safe environment, if they do not have air conditioning.

Only 28 (now 31) of the 107 prisons in Texas are fully air conditioned. Even if the number of prisons without air conditioning was reversed, to 31 prisons without air conditioning, the state of Texas would still not be treating the inmates and staff right. People are still enduring scorching summers in units that regularly reach 110 degrees and, in at least one case, topped 149 degrees inside the unit.

It has been determined that approximately 13% of mortality in warm months between 2001 and 2019 may be attributable to extreme heat. In other words, the potent combo of soaring temps and no air conditioning may have led to 271 deaths in Texas prisons in the past.

Maybe now all Texas prisons will have air-conditioning.


How about reclining easy chairs and foot massages while we’re at it….

Jim Forsythe

Leroy, the lack of reclining easy chairs and foot massages is not the question. The question is, does the state of Texas provide a safe place for prisoners and staff. If you are not for having a safe place for staff to work, just say that. If you are ok with prisoners Dying from heat, just say so.

Reducing the temperature in prisons is not a luxury for the staff and prisoners, but lifesaving.


Good lord Jim. You have absolutely ZERO sense of humor. But just for the record…. I couldn’t give a ratz azzzz less about how comfortable convicted criminals are. They didn’t get locked up because they were late to Sunday School….

Jim Forsythe

Pete, there's a difference between comfortable convicted criminals', and prisoners dying from heat. It is also an issue with the staff, as they are working in the intense heat. If you have ever worked in this type of heat, you know how unsafe it is to be exposed to this heat for days or weeks with no time to cool off. When I was required to work in this type of heat, I wore a cooling vest and was limited to how long I could stay in the heated enclosers. If you have never work in this type of heat, one thing we had to do was keep our tools in a bucket of water, otherwise they were too hot to handle.

Diane Turski

I agree that prisons should have air conditioning! Air conditioning in this climate is not a luxury, it is a necessity.


My ancestors didn’t have air conditioning Diane. Did yours?

Jim Forsythe

Some ways our ancestor keep cool.

Some fountains in big cities were built as large troughs so people could do more than just take a drink of water. On a hot summer day, they were an oasis where people could submerge their heads to stay cool.

With an eye on the summer heat, people would harvest and store ice blocks during the winter to be used in the warmer months. Fans blowing across the blocks made a difference.

Because hot air rises, some buildings were built with high ceilings. The hot, rising air would then escape through windows near the ceiling to create a natural airflow.

Architects also incorporated front porches onto houses to give homeowners some relief from the heat. People could then sit outside during the evening and early in the night when it was cooler.

The simplest way to beat the heat before air conditioning was to take a nap in a grassy area under a tree.

Prisoners have none of the above to help keep cool.

What they do have is a cell that never cools down if the heat is high and the floor space is 40 square feet for one inmate, and 18 square feet for each one thereafter, up to 24 inmates. In that space there should be seating sufficient to provide not less than 24 inches across for each inmate. The space should also include at least one toilet and one water fountain.


I’ve got to give it to you Jim. You’re the consummate progressive. Willing to slap lipstick on any pig that comes your way in defense of the party line. Well done my man! You’re a beacon in the dark for the lesser intelligent libs to follow!

Diane Turski

Well, Leroy, my ancestors lived in climates that did not need to have air conditioning.


Well Diane, mine didn’t. I’m a 5th generation BOI, and the first generation to have air conditioning for my entire life. My father grew up in house on 19th st with his 6 brothers sisters that didn’t see air conditioning until 70’s. And apparently you’ve been entitled and pampered your entire life as many around the world, some in desert conditions, have managed to survive.

Jim Forsythe

Leroy, if you want Texas prisons to be a place where people that work there are at risk of dying, that's your business.

If you want Texas to be a place that places prisoners' life in danger, that's your business.

If you think that having compassion for one's fellow man is only a progressive thing, you are wrong.

Even the pigs they raise at some prisons, have air-conditioning.

Charles Douglas

Compassion? Compassion? COMPASSION???????? What about Compassion for all the veterans here who are homeless, crippled, hungry and lives on the streets around this nation AND TEXAS?

I have not read where one LEFTIST PROGRESSIVE said one thing about helping them. Ohhh if they were only criminals and perpetrators of crime! Then they would be eligible for WOKE-LEFT help, and concern I would imagine!

This country is sick! SICK, SICK, SICK-NY-FYING I TELL YOU!

Carlos Ponce

Jim posts "Even the pigs they raise at some prisons, have air-conditioning." The pigs are raised to feed the prisoners. Pigs don't sweat. Prisoners in Texas have access to cold ice water and cold showers. They can also have personal fans.

Jim Forsythe

Charles is veterans in prison a huge problem.

If you are talking about something other than prisons, does giving to the Wounded Warrior Project count?

Does placing flags on graves of veterans on Memorial Day count?

Does resetting and/or cleaning headstones of veteran's graves count?

Does writing my Senators and Representees to back bills that will make a veteran's life easier, count?

Does going to a veteran's funeral because no one was going to be their otherwise, count?

If these and other things do not count, just what does?

As I grew up in a family that celebrated veterans, there is no way I do not have Compassion for veterans.

Compassion does not have a party, D or R or any other constraints, just feeling for your fellow man.

As far a veteran's on the streets, what is the state of Texas Senate and House doing about it?

Last year I helped a veteran get the help he needed, as he was living in a tent and had no source of food, running water or sanitation...

Charles Douglas

Good on you then Jim, ...if I had.not.said anything I would imagine my point would not have earned any comments from you. However you was jumping up & down, beating a drum for Convicts to get A/C. If you had made your point about helping indigent citizens, widows, and veterans before as you did CRIMINALS, I would not have posted anything...BUT YOU DIDN'T!

You keep honoring vets like you claim, the way you honor CONVICTS....you will not hear me complain.[wink]

Jim Forsythe

Charles, you are confusing compassion for humans that are living in conditions that even the pigs they raise at some prisons do not have to endure, for honoring convicts. If a person does a crime, they need to pay the price of not following the law. At no time should the ones in charge of the prison, in this case the state of Texas make the people that work at the prisons or are confined, be subject to life threating conditions. Many people in prison have mental problems which also compounds the problem. If a person is sent to prison, do you want to automatically declare their life is over? If not, then things like food and air-condition is needed to keep them alive until they have completed their sentence. If you do not have compassion for convicts, do you have compassion for the people that work at the prisons and are subjected to the life threating heat?

As this column is about lack of air conditioning in prisons, there was no reason to included anything but what is happening at prisons.

Charles Douglas

Jim you made my point, and that is if WE are going to come out strong for Convicts' rights to A/C then out of the same human kindness WE ought to stand up for homeless Veterans on the streets, and I don't really care what YOU SAY YOU DO, YOU ARE JUST ONE INDIVIDUAL! I was referring to those in society welding power, and controlling the wheels of justice and the government!

You can go and on and it will be.to no avail, because you are not going to get me to agree that we ought to go all out for a sub-group called "Criminals" and do nothing for a sub-group called "Veterans" or "Widows!"

Also I thought the bigger concern we were talking about here was COMPASSION for our fellow man whosoever it was! So bottom line I may not get you to agree with me but you are wasting your time if you think I am going to.value CONVICT KILLERS, THIEVES & RAPISTS rights over those of destitute VETERANS, WIDOWS, & OPHANS. I'm out!

Carlos Ponce

FanDirect Purchase Program

The cost is $23.00 per fan. A money order or a cashier’s check are the only accepted forms of payment. Money orders/cashier’s checks are to be made payable to: TDCJ – Commissary & Trust Fund.

To order a fan through the FanDirect Program, print the FanDirect Order form, fill it out completely, and return the form and your money order or cashier’s check to:

TDCJ-Commissary & Trust Fund

ATTN: FanDirect Program

PO Box 629

Huntsville, TX 77342-0629

The fan will be delivered to the eligible inmate within 10 business days from the date the completed FanDirect order form and money order or cashier’s check are received at the Commissary and Trust Fund Department.

to get the FanDirect Order form type "FanDirect Program TDCJ" into a search engine since I cannot provide a link due to GCDN rules.

Jim Forsythe

Fans are not the best way of cooling people in high temperatures. In some cases, high temperatures, they make the problem worse.

Heat waves are a leading cause of heat-related illness – and even death. Not all methods for keeping cool are effective during a heat wave. Using a fan can be more harmful than helpful when indoor air temperatures are hotter than your body temperature.

When indoor air temperatures are cooler than about 95 °F:

Use a fan when outdoor air temperatures are cooler than indoor air temperatures. (Fans in windows can blow cooler air into a room from outside).

Fans do not cool the air, so air currents flowing over the body must be cooler than your body temperature to cool you down.

When indoor air temperatures are hotter than about 95 °F: Fan use may cause your body to gain heat instead of losing it. On very hot, humid days, sweat evaporates off the skin slower than normal, and fans make it even more difficult for the body to lose heat by sweating. It’s important to stay hydrated and follow other tips to get cool.

Carlos Ponce

I spoke with someone who was in the TDCJ Prison system. He said fans help. Splash yourself with ice water (PROVIDED BY TDCJ) or after a cold shower (ALSO AVAILABLE IN TDCJ prisons) then step in front of a fan.

Jim Forsythe

TDCJ heat mitigation procedures, like providing constant access to water and ice, showers and cooled respite areas where people can cool down, are “not enough.” “They’re extremely inefficient, and that’s because it’s an enormous demand on staff and on resources when you have 120,000 people who need access to those resources every day. It really becomes an impossible solution.”

If you have ever tried to use swamp cooler, you know when the temperatures reach extremes, they do not help.

If you are suggesting that people at the prisons are going to splash water and take showers 24 hours a day, that's not going to happen. Also, as I posted above, using a fan can be more harmful than helpful when indoor air temperatures are hotter than your body temperature.

Are the guards doing the same, taking showers and splashing water on themselves? If you have ever work in a enclosed area such as a prison, you know working in temperatures above 100 degrees, is not safe for a extended amount of time.

Carlos Ponce

How many ex-prisoners have you talked to, Jim? I spoke with one today and posted what he told me. As for guards... they can step into the office.

Carlos Ponce

I also spoke with the Director of Office of Correctional Ministries today.

Jim Forsythe

I worked with a whole crew of ex-prisoners. They talked about what it was like in poison. One of the things they like to do when we were traveling to a job in a van, was to call off with their cell numbers.

I posted the same thing you did when I said, DCJ heat mitigation procedures, like providing constant access to water and ice, showers and cooled respite areas where people can cool down, are “not enough.” If that worked how come many inmates die each year, from the heat?

If your solution is for guards to step into a office, that does not work for the prisoners. Did he tell you that many windows in the cells are boarded up? That what the men I worked with told me.

This is my last post on this.

Carlos Ponce

The person I spoke with wasn't happy with the heat but was able to cope.... with the ICE WATER, COLD SHOWERS, and PERSONAL FANS. And he NEVER spoke of BOARDED UP WINDOWS. Did it EVER occur to you WHY they were boarded up? Probably because the inmates in that unit BROKE THE WINDOWS. They were probably boarded up until repaired or replaced.

Diane Turski

Well, Leroy, I am sorry that your ancestors suffered the heat without air conditioning, whether it was available to them or not. However, I don't think what hardships either of our ancestors experienced in their lives has anything to do with whether Texas should provide air conditioning in 2023.

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