Texas Prison System Buys Air Coolers—For Its Pig Barns

AUSTIN (August 17, 2013)—The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is paying $750,000 for climate-controlled barns for use in its pig farming program, but the move is drawing some heat as the system faces lawsuits, criticism and complaints by inmates and guards about the extreme summer temperatures in prison units.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that the barns are equipped with large fans with misters and exhaust fans to guarantee constant air movement.

The prison system uses inmate labor to raise pigs for prison consumption.

Bryan Collier, deputy director of the TDCJ, said the barns don't have "air conditioning ... it's a climate-controlled environment."

At least 14 inmate deaths in the past six years have been attributed to extreme heat, which averages 120 degrees in some areas inside prisons.

Almost none of the inmate living areas has air conditioning.

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