A number of inmates have raised concerns over the rising temperatures inside the California Institution for Women (CIW) in San Bernardino County, Corona, Los Angeles.
Constructed with brick and cinderblock in the 1950s, the CIW has been reported to have temperatures that rise above 100 degrees even in the night and early mornings.
This has resulted in untold hardships, serious discomforts and health problems for many female inmates to the point of seeking immediate hospitalization.
Many Collapse Daily With Heat Exhaustion and Yet Others Suffer the Risk of Dying Any Moment
Jane Dorotik, a 70-year-old inmate at CIW wrote to Rewire to report that summer is always a miserable season for inmates at the CIW. Jane also has made headlines previously for her husband’s murder case and for the reevaulation of the DNA involved that could free her from her 25 year sentence.
She relates that a few fans are provided in some cells to provide cooling to vulnerable inmates, but they are useless given that inmates fight over the directions the fans should blow.
“Individual fans are churning on high in most of the cells (for those fortunate enough to be able to afford a fan), but after a while it is just sticky hot air blowing around, providing no cooling,” she said.
In Texas, over 22 inmates have reportedly died from heat stroke since 1998 and over a thousand others with medical issues frequently moved to air-conditioned cells.
Back in CIW, aging inmates with health conditions such as asthma and arthritis have suffered serious setbacks in their health and some had to be rushed to medical centers under guards. Many collapse daily with heat exhaustion and yet others suffer the risk of dying any moment.
“I’d Cry Because I Felt Like I Was Suffocating,” Kandyce States
California has 34 prisons with some of them located in arid regions such as the Mojave Desert, where temperatures can rise as high as 120 degrees.
There are currently over 750 women aged between 45 and over 70 years of age at CIW, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) revealed.
Overcrowding is another factor contributing to unbearable heat inside prison cells at CIW during the summer months.
“We were about 12 in double bunks,” said Patricia Williams, a 60-plus aged woman with asthma at CIW. “It had no ceiling or wall or any other fan.”
“We are cooking in there,” stated Kandyce, an inmate who is in her third trimester of pregnancy at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. “I’d cry because I felt like I was suffocating,”
Dorotik finished up by saying that early release for elderly and vulnerable women would do a lot to help the prison system as well as preserve the general health of female inmates.
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