Monday, July 8, 2019

#VisitAPrison and Feel the HEAT

July 8, 2019

This will be a fairly short post, but a new health risk and humane treatment issue has arisen at Goose Creek Correctional Center (GCCC) due to the current heat wave. Please ask your legislators to #VisitAPrison and specifically request to tour the Administrative Segregation (AdSeg) unit as soon as possible!

Can't Take the HEAT

We've received word from inmates, family members and staff at the facility that the temperature inside the AdSeg unit at GCCC has been hovering at 95 degrees and higher for more than a week. Inmates and staff alike are suffering in the inhumane conditions! 

We all realize with the current heat wave in Alaska that many of our buildings are not built with air conditioning or air exchange systems capable of handling this type of weather. GCCC is no exception. 

If you discover that your home is heating to more than 95 degrees inside, you have options. You can go out to purchase an air conditioning unit (if you could find one) or fans to increase the air flow in your home. You could open the windows or go outside. You could choose to head to the lake, the pool, or a store you know has air conditioning. 

The corrections officers in AdSeg are having to work 12-hour shifts in the sweltering heat, right alongside the inmates. One described it as, "like working in hell." 

The inmates have it even worse. They are locked into an 8' by 10' cell, usually with another person, without any means of escaping or dealing with the conditions for 23-hours per day. They have the opportunity for one hour a day to go into a locked cage-like area for relief down to only what the temperature is outside. Family members are attending video visits with their loved ones in that area and their loved one is showing up completely drenched in sweat and visibly suffering. (They do not leave the housing unit for a video visit.) Keep in mind, some of these inmates are locked in there for punitive reasons, but some of them are also in there simply because they have been identified as needing protection and reclassified as "Protective Custody." Clayton himself was trapped in these conditions for weeks for that very reason. 

Invite Your Legislators to #VisitAPrison Today! 

It just so happens that today - July 8th - is the start of the #VisitAPrison challenge by FAMM, encouraging individuals to ask your legislators and policymakers to visit a prison and experience the conditions for themselves. Please take this opportunity to ask your own legislator to complete that challenge by visiting GCCC and asking to tour AdSeg and experience the heat themselves. These types of conditions are known in areas like Texas and other southern states to cause heat stroke and death in corrections officers and inmates alike. It is inhumane. Even if the temperatures cool in the coming days, DOC needs to have procedures in place to regulate the temperatures inside their facilities to humane ranges. This is how it is managed in those other states. Demand action and accountability! Inmates and corrections officers are human beings, and should be treated as such! 

No comments:

Post a Comment