For nearly 30 years, Texas jails have been kept under 85 degrees, and the recently filed lawsuit asks the court to order that Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities be required to do the same, according to organizational plaintiffs including Lioness Justice Impacted Women’s Alliance, Texas Prisons Community Advocates, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, and Texas C.U.R.E.

More than 85,000 incarcerated Texans cannot access air conditioning in the summer. As temperatures rise to triple digits, tiny prison cells can reach 140 degrees. Our inside Lioness members have reported heat conditions that have led to severe illness and death. Extreme temperatures are inhumane, a violation of 8th Amendment rights, deadly, and affect the health and mental well-being of all who live and work in Texas prisons. Multiple studies link extreme heat to higher rates of death in prisons. Other studies have shown increases in violence and suicide risks, according to National Public Radio

Lioness Community Outreach Coordinator Marci Marie Simmons spoke at a press conference about the lawsuit on April 22. “Lioness has over 700 directly system-impacted members,” Simmons said. “A large percentage of our membership is still under the direct authority of TDCJ, making us particularly vulnerable to potential retaliation. Despite these risks, we bravely stand in pursuit of humane and non-life-threatening temperatures in Texas prisons.” 

Read more about the dangerous temperatures in Texas prisons and what Lioness Justice Impacted Women’s Alliance is doing to fight for incarcerated women, girls, and gender-expensive individuals. “People are going to die this summer”: Advocacy groups join Texas lawsuit over excessive heat in prisons ( Advocates sue Texas over prisoners being ‘cooked to death’ (Austin Chronicle) Texas inmates are being ‘cooked  to death’ in extreme heat, complaint alleges (Texas Tribune) “There have to be limits”: Lawsuit urges scorching prisons to cool down (Texas Observer)