Some 'heat sensitive' Pack Unit inmates may be sent to Diboll Co - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Some 'heat sensitive' Pack Unit inmates may be sent to Diboll Correctional Center

From the Director of Public Information, Texas Department of Criminal Justice:  

 

Following an order issued by a federal judge last month, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice submitted a plan Thursday afternoon to the court in Houston.
While the agency’s mitigation efforts are robust and effective, the preliminary injunction requires a heat index of 88 degrees or less for certain offenders incarcerated at the Pack Unit in Navasota. 
The opinion captures more offenders than those determined by a doctor to be heat sensitive and also includes additional subclasses including those on antihistamines. This presents a significant challenge for the agency. 
To comply with the judge’s order, TDCJ’s proposal calls for the temporary transfer of approximately 1,000 inmates from the Pack Unit to facilities that have air conditioning in housing areas. The identified offenders would be moved primarily to the Travis State Jail in Austin and the Diboll Correctional Center in Diboll. 
Other options were considered but determined not to be practical or their effectiveness could not be guaranteed.
The agency believes reconfiguring already air-conditioned areas of the prison to accommodate the identified offenders poses security concerns and would not be logistically feasible.
Adding temporary air conditioning in a prison not built for AC would be costly and it’s unknown whether untested equipment would bring the heat index to a level required by the court.  

While the temporary transfer will cause the displacement of many individuals, the agency has the capabilities and experience to move offenders and has done so in emergency situations. 

It is possible to temporarily transfer these offenders but it is not sustainable in the long term because of the lack of required infrastructure.

Below is the State's 12-page response to a federal judge's order for a plan to spare heat-sensitive inmates, those with health problems or advanced in age, from sweltering conditions inside the Pack Unit in Southeast Texas. The judge did not require the installation of air conditioning in areas with those individuals are housed; instead, he said they need to be moved to locations where temperatures are 88 degrees or below. 

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