Summer Heat in Arizona Prison

Summer Heat in Arizona Prison

Summer in many prisons can be unbearable, as very few have any temperature control or much ventilation, and staff do little to nothing to provide relief. Prisoners suffer heat-related illnesses, and sometimes death, every year. Temperatures inside a cell can be over 110 degrees, at which point a fan does nothing but blow the hot air around. See Boiling Behind Bars, an article from The Intercept earlier this year, about the conditions in Texas prisons.

We received this today from a prisoner in Arizona:

Times on the yard are hard and its getting real. The heat waves are literally killing us as we don’t have any AC, only swamp coolers. The temperature we have been forced to endure all month has been a consistent 97° with 77% humidity inside all day into the night all due to the swamp coolers. This is absolutely insane, and when we have recreation we get locked on the rec field for hours at a time, very limited water supply and when that runs out we have to argue and cause trouble just to get the jugs refilled. A plan that everyone refuses to lockdown is in talks right now. When we engage could be soon. The danger we are being forced to endure with these temperatures is outstanding. I can only imagine with climates changing how bad it will be in the years to come.

Prisoner Hunger Strike in Arizona

Prisoner Hunger Strike in Arizona

From one of our contacts in an Arizona prison:

My yard organized a peaceful protest to our neglect and mistreatment. For all the empty promises made and unfulfilled by the administration. For everything that they have taken from us over these last couple years since Covid. We organized a food strike as a whole cohesive unit over the weekend. It started on Monday, July 18, 2022. The whole yard refused chow at breakfast. They didn’t know what to make of it. Then lunch came around, and again we all refused to eat. Then they start showing concern because they hate it when we show organization against the system. They came around asking questions, and some designated speakers explained what was going on. Our requests aren’t anything that we shouldn’t have coming, food portions, food quality, rec time, extra curriculum, programs, medical, etc. So they tell us to hold back, and give them a week to remedy, if it can’t happen do what y’all gotta do.

So this morning we wake up to an army of K9 units and ninja turtles kicking in doors as a massive show of force and attempted intimidation obviously in retaliation to our peaceful demonstration. This tells me two things, one we touched a nerve, and two we have them worried. I haven’t seen unity like this among the population for a decade. This says that things are truly unbearable and we will not stand idle and just let it happen anymore. There will be consequences for their lack of action and attention. I haven’t heard word about what our next move is yet, but in my opinion we need to step it up if they are gonna answer with attempted intimidation.

The fact that they request we stand down so they can look into things and then they attack says we can’t trust anything they say. When they say peace, they really mean war. That’s what I’m getting from the situation as a whole. If that’s what they want I know the majority of inmates here are down for it because we are all sick of the overstep of power with no accountability. And if no-one is gonna stand up for us, we have to stand up for ourselves.

I may get interrogated for writing this because I know they don’t want this getting to the outside world especially in the wake of the recent scandal this complex was already plagued with concerning Chuck Ryan.

(Two days later …)

Also, there was no more raids today. So I think they just wanted to make a statement that organization will not be tolerated. They won’t stop it though, everyone here is fed up with out treatment and we are realizing that we hold power in numbers especially since they are short staffed. I’m down for the cause but at the same time I can’t get too involved because I have my own future to concentrate on and need to stay out of trouble.