Friday, September 6, 2013

AFSCME union joins inmate suit over heat related issues in Texas Prisons

By Duane Stuart

The largest of the state's Correctional Officer unions, the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, Municipal employees) union, has announced that they will join an already pending lawsuit initiated by offender families and support groups seeking to air condition Texas lock-ups.

The inmate groups claim that the sweltering South Texas heat can hover near 110 degrees in some prisons and that heat indexes (what it really feels like) can read near 120 degrees or better. Some have even contributed a handful of offender deaths to the heat. TDCJ has denied that allegation, and states that Texas Prisons are supplying ice, cool water, and fans for offenders to cool off with and that they have no plans to air condition any prison units. The AFSCME union states that they are concerned about the health and safety of correctional staff that must also be present in that same heat to watch over the offender population.

Union officials stated in a press release that older correctional staff, and staff that may be on certain types of required medications have and will continue to suffer in the extreme heat conditions inside the walls if relief is not ordered. So what is your take on the situation? Keep it clean, and professional.

64 comments:

  1. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    If you can't do the job when you applied for the job under the conditions that were present when you applied then stay home. Next the fatso's will want motorized vehicles to take them from point A to point B because they get exhausted when they waddle, hum I mean walk. This job is for the fit and sometimes maybe a 50 year should just know when it's over. Why not make all the doors and gates wheelchair accessible? Why not have a series of handrails for the elderly employees? When do you get back to just accepting the conditions of the job and DO IT!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Certain medical staff at my unit have been approved to ride motorized wheelchairs to complete work assignments. The way I see it, it won't be long until they let bosses do it too.

      Delete
    2. Speaking like a true moron. You belong as a guard for life. With all the extras of crap you'll have to deal with. You healthy buff with no brains. You want to remain in conditions fit for the 1800's and for uneducated people. You're so retarded.

      Delete
    3. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      Excuse me for having an opinion. I believe we should eat and exercise like we did in the 1800's. There weren't many fatso's back then. Also, back then people sacrafisied to get and education and society didn't owe them anything. Back then they earned everything they got and didn't stand around with their hands out.

      Delete
  2. Really and who do you think come to work the most the fatso's or the skinny young people that rather party then be responsible and come to work when they are schedule to do so.

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    1. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      If a person doesn't come to work at least you know there's a shortage during your shift and you handle things accordingly. If a fatso comes to work you are under the impression they are available. If a situation occurs and the fatso can't help or gets hurt they become part of the problem. All of a sudden you are having to watch your back and the fatso's back. No offense.

      Delete
    2. How about an employee who lacks a conscientiousness and calls their fellow employees "fatso." I don't think an individual who calls their coworkers "fatso" really cares about them. Not everyone who is overweight, diabetic, has high blood pressure, over the age of 50, or on anti depression / anxiety medication brought those conditions upon themselves. This lawsuit pertains to thousands of TDCJ employees and climate control would be a reasonable accommodation under ADA.

      Even the military has better heat precautions than TDCJ. TDCJ is not a war zone, but a controlled environment. They have the ability and the means to add climate control to their facilities. If the pigs get AC, so should the employees.

      Delete
    3. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      I guess I could be considered an old man, but I'm still in relatively good shape. I don't think I've been afraid of much over my lifetime and certainly not a bunch of undisciplined fatso's. You probably got out of breath writing your post. And finally - you're not the boss of me.

      Delete
  3. People who lack a conscientiousness should not work for TDCJ. I believe the state should implement psychological screening to screen out these idiots. Screen out some upper administration too, who believe the unnecessary killing of people is justified to save money. Texas is not a poor state. The pay and treatment of correctional officers is poor.

    I can tolerate lack of respect for inmates, but your own coworkers in gray I can not tolerate people disrespecting. People don't always choose to have diabetes, have high blood pressure, depression, or in some cases choose to be over weight. The State of Texas chose to hire people with their existing health conditions and expose them to extreme heat that can lead to their death. TDCJ knows they are causing the deaths and illnesses of people that can be prevented by the simple act of climate controlling the environment. TDCJ cares more about their livestock than their officers and are adding climate control to the hog barns. Heat can lead to heart attacks and stokes. How many employees during hot months fall out from this?? How many employees have you seen carted off in an ambulance??

    I hope under TDCJ upper administration burns for their sins and the lack of respect they have for their own employees. Its good to see someone is interested about the employees and is taking action.

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  4. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    Look if you're a fatso then you're a fatso. Why should anyone act like you're not? Why should we have to act like there's not an elephant in the room (pun intended)? If you don't care about your health, if you don't have discipline, if you don't care about how others perceive you, if you don't care enough about yourself don't put that on me. I can work in the heat and not whine about it. I can do my job and not make excuses for why I can't do my job. With accepting a job comes responsibility. Now go sit down in the corner, get out of the way and eat something.

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    1. I just hate arrogant dumb asses who feel so superior cutting down everyone else. I perceive you as a dumbass who watches too many Spiderman movies (Pun intended). Now, can we stick to the subject.

      Delete
    2. BOBO SHUT THE F UP.... You are probably a scared old man , who has done nothing.. if you were to stupid to make better working conditions for your self, then your the Assh#l..
      Would love to see who you are , who you are prob called a coward & inmate lover work you F ING POS

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    3. BOBO hope you get Cancer of the Balls. Oh wait prob never had any way Fing Coward

      Delete
    4. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      Well my balls are very big. Thanks for noticing.

      Delete
  5. I'm with BoBo on this one. You knew what the job was when you got hired. I will add that we have too many bosses who are not physically capable of doing their job. We have too many bosses who would be unable to render aid to a coworker in an emergency because of their lack of conditioning, their enhanced relationship with gravity, et cetera.

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    1. You are part of the problem DUMB ASS

      Delete
  6. I'm with BoBo. Too many grossly obese people in prison, whether they be staff of inmates. Imagine how big they would become if they didn't get the opportunity to sweat some of it off every summer.

    And 50 is the new 30 for those of us who who are not too lazy to get off our fatsos, exercise every day, and avoid the super-sized fast food meals and the big-gulp sodas.

    If you are a fatso, you are a fatso because you would rather be a fatso than do what it takes to be healthy. Period.

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  7. From the desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    After we get air conditioning maybe we can demand iced drinks with little umbrellas in them. Now whose with me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MAYBE YOU CAN DROP DEAD SOON

      Delete
  8. One of the above post really has hit the nail on the head. TDCJ does not currently hire by weight standard, nor screen for illnesses and disease prior to hiring staff. It can't afford to. So if they hire 50 people, and 25 of those are over weight, and over 50 then who's liable for ensuring they are provided a safe work environment? The requirements for employment state "must be able to work and perform in hot/cold environments".. so what classifies extreme heat or extreme circumstances? Is it reasonable to expect staff to perform their duties in a cell block with little or no ventilation with interior temps at 110 degrees ? Or a cell block in winter that's 28 degrees with 10 MPH drafts coming through? County jails in Texas are now all climate controlled per TCLEOSE standards, shouldn't prisons be next? If i was Brad Livingston i would want my staff to have all the necessary tools to keep them safe, have the most up to date equipment possible, and to work in a comfortable environment. If you had a choice, who in their right mind would turn down an air conditioned work environment in the Texas heat?

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  9. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    I probably won't drop dead too soon. I eat healthy and stay in pretty good physical shape. Sorry FATSO!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. NOT FAT can Meet me if you like?? Tough Guy

      Delete
    2. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      Note to self - immediately go into hiding. When fat guys attack. Bhwaaaaaaa, haaaaaaaa, haaaaaaa!

      Delete
  10. Janna Dickerson your comments were removed by our staff. Ex-offenders and offender families are not permitted to post here.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The one you should have removed is still here. Really, bad choice. You're downgrading this site.

      Delete
    2. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      Lets see. You're the one making threats and personal attacks, but I should be removed? Why's that, just because you're hearing the truth?

      Delete
    3. No, no. I'm not him. I'm the one calling you a moron and people sat on you. The truth is even with your he man body people don't like to hear you talk down to others. Your not productive here. You're not part of any solution. You don't even know what the topic is all about. You just go all the way to left field and stay there.

      Delete
    4. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      I do understand the topic. People are whining for a climate controlled work environment as if they have a right to work in air conditioning. Just because I dont' agree with you or the union spokesman does't mean I'm a moron or derserve to die. I happen to think today's generation of workers are weak minded and physically weak. Too many people today grew up thinking they were winners when all they really are is whiners. I had a boy one time who had his mommy call in sick for him. I asked her why he didn't call in himself and she said because he hadn't woke up yet. I told her when princess woke up she could tell him not to bother coming back to work at all. People who are mentally strong and who maintains a healthy body are better abled to work in a less than perfect work environment. You work the job, don't let the job work you. You manage the convict, don't let the convict manage you. The next time you want a climate controlled environment job apply for a job in a meat locker.

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    5. You made your point here. Even if I don't agree with all of it. Although better said.

      Delete
  11. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    Someone has their panties in a bunch. Fat people typically also have poor hygiene habits. I imagine you're a mess.

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    1. People must've really sat on you,...and then farted something bad. Now you're having nightmares.

      Delete
  12. All of the mudslinging and personal attacks aside, has anyone stopped to think where the money will come from to put in air conditioning and ducting for 150+ units? And before everyone jumps on the, "Well, if we weren't paying for personal security for..." bandwagon, let's reflect on how the funds (admittedly, not well-spent) from that debacle wouldn't be a DROP in the bucket towards the tens of millions needed to undertake putting a/c in every unit. Next, how do you plan to make it inmate-proof? Ducting has to run somewhere, and provides not only an accessway between secure areas (unless you put in expensive countermeasures, and a LOT of them!), but tons of materials for making shanks, contraband, etcetera. Even if the good a/c fairy came down and dropped the cash for this to happen, it would be YEARS before plans were made, contracts written, supplies procured and work even begun. I think a lot of people imagine that if this initiative goes through, they'll be lounging the life of Riley by next summer, and that just won't happen. Do I think a/c is a good idea? Not really. Do I believe that it's as inevitable as the disappearance of ad-seg and the overall breaking weak of the system? Absolutely. But we need to approach it carefully, with thought, and planning. *I* personally like getting occasional odd raise two or three times a decade. If we try to push through a/c in the next two years, you can guarantee that we won't see anything "extra" on our paystubs, nor will we see any maintenance for the units, replacement vehicles for those tired old vans, or anything else. So, make your choice...me, I've got a/c at the house, and it's just another incentive to me to grit through my day and make it home, so I can enjoy something that a convicted felon can't.

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    1. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      Very good thought out post. You should have said all that to begin with.

      Delete
    2. Get your facts right. There are now less than 109 unit in TDCJ and several of those are air conditioned or private contracts units. AC is a long term Capital expenditure which would amount to around $56 million dollars a year, which is a fracture of the state budget when you consider the State of Texas brings in over $200,000,000,000.00 in revenue.

      Who pays for the lack of climate control when you coworker falls out, YOU DO. Medical cost alone for the lack of climate control far out weight the cost of AC in the long run. Employees who are falling out at work typically cost the EMPLOYEE'S insurance MILIONS of dollars every year by the fact employees are not filing their claims under our broken worker's compensation plan. Why would an employee face disciplinary action or go to some sorry worker's comp doctor, when they could use their ERS insurance. The ERS Health Group Insurance incurs millions of dollars in cost from extreme heat exposure and the cost are passed on to the EMPLOYEES in the form of rate hikes every two years.

      Millions of dollars more are spent on medical care for inmates who fall out from the extreme heat too. Those ambulance and hospital bills run up bills $20,000 to $200,000 every time an inmate is sent to a free world hospital. Skyview and Jester runs cost over $500 a day just so inmate can catch AC.

      Now there is litigation involved in the issue. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has rules against the state. The inmates stand to get AC in their cells, while employees are on the cellblocks sweating, as is the case on several units. How do you feel about that????? It is smart for employees to seek litigation and have a final say in the matter. TDCJ is going to lose these cases. Unlike the last Federal Oversight, the employees stayed quiet and GOT SCREWED. Employees could have demanded better training, which leads to better pay. One reason DPS got 20% and TDCJ got 5% was because it cost the state more to train and replace DPS officers.

      Where at the recruiting standards and screening for employees???? Most long term employers will have a physician review the employee's health prior to hiring them if they incur occupational hazards. TDCJ does not conduct a health physical on their employees and expects employees who have never worked inside a prison to know if they are physically able to. This opens to agency up to ADA claims since we have several thousand employees who can die from extreme heat exposure. The assembly line TDCJ hiring process is broken and standards should have been put in place years ago.

      If BoBo calls people “Fatso's” and claims they should quit, BoBo is ignorant of Federal Law. The agency never had to hire individuals with serious health problems in the first place and has a legal and moral obligation to screen them out prior to hiring them. Once you hire several thousand employees with serious health conditions you will have to reasonably accommodate them under Federal Law.

      Delete
    3. I must say this is the best post I have read here.... Thank You
      Someone has a brain and not stuck in the 50's

      Delete
    4. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      I never said fatso's should quit. My position is they should not whine about work conditions under which they voluntarily hired. You want air conditioning all day long then stay home or spend the day at McDonalds. I would like to be able to watch HBO all day long in a lounge chair at work, but that wasn't in the job description. Why didn't you voice those concerns when you were hired?

      Delete
    5. And anyone who thinks A/C might be a good thing is obviously a fat lazy slob.

      http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6wkm7WXUW1qihztbo1_250.gif


      Keep stuffing straw into it and maybe you'll eventually have a real argument I guess.

      Delete
  13. BoBo... This isn't the 1950's. Start living in modern times or stay at home and watch TV. Killing people with extreme heat is not exceptable. The Federal laws and guidelines are put in place to protect people from administrators who share your same type of mentality. You don't hire people in modern times and expose them to conditions where they get sick or die. TDCJ should have screened people with serious illnesses out, but they didn't. The agency knows the risk they are putting them in, but covers it up by hiring people with your mentality.

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  14. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    They were hiring people with my mentality when that was the norm. Who knew TDCJ would turn into a bunch of geriatric, obese, crippled, panty wearing whinners (the new normal). TDCJ knows the risk they are putting them in, but so do they (employees). Take personal responsibility. If you know this job could kill you then quit. By all means save your life.

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    Replies
    1. BoBo, I bet you get a lot of EEO filed on you... Wake up this is not 1865... You are so far behind on times and such a hater. BoBo, I'm surprised you are using the Internet. Maybe since you are behind on times, you should mail in you response to the Backgate.

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  15. BoBo the fact is people don't know and the agency, unlike REAL law enforcement agencies, doesn't screen them out. BoBo, bean counters is what has brought this agency down to the low standards. BoBo people like you are not going to effect the change that is needed. You are one of those status quo people who believes everything that is handed down from above.

    Personal responsibility and accountability should be taken by those who run the agency, instead of covering up issues. BoBo you talk about the "Fatsos" and the garbage can bosses. Now here is a chance to start screening them out or pay for the inaction of our leadership / lack of leadership.

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  16. The guards lost the little bit of creditability that we still had when we joined the inmates' lawsuit. We have a chance of getting relief, if we sue on our own. The inmates are in prison for committing crimes. That is how they differ from us. We could get some relief if we went after it from the proper angle. Demanding that TDCJ-CID go from where we are, to air conditioning the entire prison is a waste of time and resources.

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    1. Guards watch over banks... Correctional Officers secure prisons.

      Get the facts right. The officers are Not joining in on the same lawsuit, but filing their OWN suit. The only thing the officers are stating is they agree the conditions in TDCJ are unhealthy for humans and are jumping in on the legal bandwagon filing their own lawsuit for Correctional Employees, Not Inmates.

      The inmates lawsuit is an 8th amendment lawsuit against cruel and unusual punishment, which the 5th Federal Circuit ruled against the state.

      The Officers lawsuit is an ADA action against the state. When it comes to heat and unsafe environments, there is no us against them. Heat does care if you are wearing white or gray.

      To whomever you are, you have never worn gray and lack the facts, so as for credibility you have just showed a lack of it and lost all TDCJ officers credibility by using the term "Guards." Research the facts about the action before you open your mouth which lacks credibility on the subject matter.

      Delete
    2. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      Well now. I feel like I single handedly carried this string.

      Delete
    3. ...and the only one without any common sense.

      Delete
  17. This topic is amazing to me.

    Is Bobo saying that given the choice to have AC, and the choice for no AC he would choose to not have AC?? Can you honestly say you prefer to be hot over AC??

    I knew TDCJ was hot when I started...I took it as a part of the job. But if they said "Tomorrow were putting in AC" im definitley not going to be opposed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      I'm not opposed to having AC, but I'm opposed to whining about it now and acting like it's a life or death situation. Maybe being 150 pounds overweight life threatening. Maybe not exercising on your own and staying in shape is life threatening. Maybe not eating healthy is life threatening. All those things are about choice - YOUR CHOICE. Show that you are concerned enough about things you have control over before making demands of someone else.

      Delete
    2. I think he might be a Flintstone. They had no windows then you know. He would feel right at home. He keeps talking about being in shape and having bulging muscles. He could also be one of the guys from Hans and Franz.

      Delete
  18. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    You've convinced me. I'm on board. Now I demand a pedicure and massage at the end of each shift. A massage would help to relieve stress and a pedicure would help me feel pretty. Whose with me?

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    1. You are ridiculous in making that statement. If having a little ac makes our job a tiny bit easier then what the hell is it to you. Regardless if we get any or not, I will still be there. I found it amusing the other day as I sat in our turnout room. It was 103 that day, we knew that the turnout room was the last bit of cool air we would get that day. Lo and behold our Captain decided to make an appearance. Apparently, the room wasn't as cool as her office because she proceeded to fan herself with a magazine she found on the table. A few of us looked at each other and shook our heads. Bottom line is that the only ones that look out for us, is us. I can almost guarantee that if all Units were completely ac free, taken out of all offices, everyone working under the same conditions, we wouldn't be discussing this problem. It would have been solved a long time ago.

      Delete
    2. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

      If you want to feel a breeze while you're walking then walk a little faster. I can't stand to be behind someone when I'm trying to get somewhere and they block my way. Those people who will take a step and walk 3 inches foward, but 12 inches sideways. Good grief! I would like to dangle a subway sandwhich from a stick and string over their heads to make them walk faster.

      Delete
  19. Whens I was hired long ago, I knows tdcj had no air. yes its get very hot. but I gots a good check for years. now my causin got job at walmart, putin up stock all night, him back hurts. I thinks in long run tdcj was better for me. me nots have good back. look what that air cost him a hurt back. I sure like working the picket gets to hold a gun.

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  20. Go back to your desk and service the rank. No need for u to go to a uof. We fatsos have it under control.

    ReplyDelete
  21. From the Desk of BoBoTheBeaten:

    The local fire department just announced they refuse to fight fires in less than perfect weather conditions. They also refuse to fight fires above one story. The demands are being carefully considered.

    The cops may quit responding to calls involving firearms.

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  22. Bobo that's stupid... If 14 people died in DPS patrol cars from extreme heat and countless troopers fell out too, DPS would put AC in their patrol cars. Imagine the money and gas that could be saved by taking AC out of patrol cruisers.

    Only problem is DPS wouldn't want to hire some of the trash TDCJ hires after all their Troopers quit. If you want quality staff, treat them professional. TDCJ officers are not a bunch of day labors who can be replaced the next days.

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    Replies
    1. DPS troopers took the job knowing that the cars were equipped with air conditioning. They didn't expect it to be added on afterwards. When I rode motors in the late 70's they didn't have air conditiong either. If I had demanded it they would have taken it away and put me in a car. If you want so many demands open a private prison yourself and provide the Taj Mahal to your employees and satisfy all their whims.

      Delete
    2. No one is asking for Taj Mahal conditions in the prison. Prison sux and will sux even with AC. The only thing that is being requested is TDCJ meets the State's current standards they have for every jail in Texas which requires temperatures under 85 degrees to prevent people from dying.

      If 14 people died in a hospital in Chicago from extremely cold temperatures, the hospital administration would not only be sued, but must likely brought up on criminal charges. TDCJ is liable for inmates, but more importantly their employees. This is not a question of being tough, but being smart. TDCJ gets no professional respect because on dumb old redneck stuff. Get out of the plantation days and get with current times. Heat kills and the temperatures in the prisons need to be climate controlled to a reasonable temperature to prevent death and extreme illnesses.

      Delete
  23. Some Bully must have really done a number on BOO BOO while in his childhood or maybe he just never grew up or then again maybe mommy and daddy just didn't have enough time for him while he was growing up. He needs so serious help. Maybe Rusk State Hospital could do him some good.

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  24. In 1984 I could fly up and down stairs and ride out the heat after all the years it is not as easy. In 1984 I was glade to work with older people that new more then I did. If the young officer think they can run a unit better then let them have A unit all to their self. I can just see a group of 18 to 25 year old trying to think they could out do a unit of 3,500 offender with now one with experience on the unit on how to contain and talk. Not even the warden let it be a 25 year old. we know TDC has warden that have never worked as CO and had to keep a wing for going off behind some commissary officer

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  25. I understand the 8th amendment issues but what defines cruel and unusual punishment. The family of the child murdered will probably never take comfort again so why should the convicted felon be coddled to. I know the point is to reform this folks back into society but does anyone think they will every be a productive member of society. College graduates can't find jobs right now so what's a convicted felon with a record going to do. Leave the guys where they are and let them suffer. If prison conditions got more harsh, maybe there would be less of these guys in them as they wouldn't be so inclined to commit the crimes that put them there.

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  26. Criminal 1 says to Criminal 2 - Man, maybe we shouldn't robb this store and kidnap this employee, I forgot that Prisons can get extremely hot.

    Criminal 2- You're right!! what were we thinking? let's get out of here.

    Employee- Thanks TDCJ!!

    See how logical that sounds..geeeeze.

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  27. Not only is the heat excessive for employees and inmates but most units are working with highly understaffed medical departments due to budgeting issues. Hope nobody dies or suffers a heat related illness at those units as you may not get the medical treatment necessary.....

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  28. I bet if we stood our ground and and demanded air conditioning in a certain time frame or we would begin becoming no shows, we could then make prison a safer place for all of its employees and at the same time the inmates. Even though they are not the best people in the world they are still people and we need to make sure we take care of the people in our charge.

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