The New York Times had a feature piece on the subject of lawsuits going on against Texas and other states and counties throughout the country claiming that not having air conditioning in prisons is cruel. In that story were some interesting items upon which I want to comment.
“In places like Louisiana and Texas, sweltering states where elected officials cherish tough-on-crime credentials, it is politically poisonous to be perceived as coddling prisoners. And many officials simply say that temperatures are not anywhere near as dire as prisoners and their lawyers claim,” the Times reported.
I just have a hard time sympathizing with anybody over air-conditioning.
“For the first 20 years of my life, I lived in a house with no air-conditioning,” said Jim Willett, the director of the Texas Prison Museum and a former warden at the state’s death house. “I just have a hard time sympathizing with anybody over air-conditioning.”
One Keith Cole, a plaintiff in a class-action Texas case for A/C in prison has a lawyer who was reported to say: “In the South, almost everybody has air-conditioning. This isn’t a luxury anymore. Almost everyone has it, except for these inmates.”
In the South, almost everybody has air-conditioning. This isn’t a luxury anymore. Almost everyone has it, except for these inmates.
And here we have a problem which reaches well beyond prisons and air conditioning. Just because most people have air conditioning does NOT mean it isn’t a luxury. What it means is that we are such a wealthy society that even our poor generally enjoy luxuries unknown to most of the world.
We could also afford to air condition prisons but why do so? Why should prisoners be afforded a luxury few in the world outside of the most wealthy nations have?
What will be next in the list of demands claiming that because folks on the outside have it, we should too? Freedom?