Texas fact of the day

by on October 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm in Law, Uncategorized | Permalink

…two-thirds of the 109 state prisons lack air conditioning in housing areas…

…corrections officers have complained to Texas prison officials that the heat index inside facilities is often as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit, but haven’t been able to persuade them to make changes. They said they were driven to speak out after learning that the state spent $750,000 in June to buy six new barns with exhaust fans and misters to cool pigs raised for inmate consumption.

There is more here.

jeff October 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Pork that produces literal pork.

LemmusLemmus October 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm

This is surprising given that heat has been linked to aggressive behaviour. If that’s a causal connection, then air conditioning may be an effective control measure.

Erik October 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

despicable

Brian Donohue October 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

You would hate the 19th century.

Cliff October 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm

As would everyone…

Rahul October 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I’d learn to love it if everyone was living 19th century.

dirk October 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Average is over.

pritesh October 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm

For fun, read the comments.

Chuck Norris October 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm

You see there? If the prison had a financial stake in the fitness of its inmates, these conditions would not exist anywhere and liabilities would become virtually limitless possibilities:

“Alabama began convict leasing in 1846 and the practice lasted until 1928. The revenues derived from convict leasing were substantial, accounting for roughly 10 percent of total state revenues in 1883.[14] This percentage surged to nearly 73 percent by 1898.”

With growth like that, who needs government? Also, feeding the inmates on freshly ground liberals would be much more efficient. Thank you. I’ll be here all day.

rpenm October 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Yep. No chance at all of perverse incentives.

*sarcasm

Mr. Norris' Secretary October 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Mr. Norris has asked me to reply to your comment regarding “perverse incentives,” as he felt it was too cliched to warrant a personal response.

Objections of this sort usually involve an overestimation of the profitability of labor camps, combined with a failure to apprehend the fact that American government has never been anything but perverted incentives. I’m sure you can come up with a long list of companies and individuals who could conceivably turn a handsome profit solely from false arrest and imprisonment, and yet this does not now occur with any statistical significance. President Nixon created the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, a brilliant move designed to sweep the streets of various undesirables — extremely profitable make-work indeed. And yet outside the dojo at present the very dregs of society roam free, wanton criminals and drug addicts sleeping in doorways littered with stolen goods and drug paraphernalia, police budgets slashed, those still employed lacking motivation, discouraged by the knowledge that the element will typically be back on the streets within 24 hours of being arrested. Those that do find their way to prison are allowed to simply wallow in their own degeneracy such that more than 2/3 of those released will be back in prison within 3 years (BOJ). In short, Mr. Norris believes that the incentives are already as perverse as they could possibly be, and that your fears are wholly ungrounded. Correctional REITs actually have a lot to offer in terms of incentive compatibility.

Please enjoy this promotional video.

dbp October 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

It would certainly be unpleasant to have to live in such hot conditions but not fatal for healthy humans. Pigs, despite the popular expression, do not sweat enough to stay cool and would die without the misters and fans.

Mark Thorson October 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

Why are they raising pigs? You can feed prisoners soy protein and wheat gluten for protein. The prisons should be made vegan! This would a) satisfy all prisoners with religious dietary restrictions against pork, beef, etc., b) reduce the hazard of food poisoning due to insufficient refrigeration of raw food, c) reduce the costs of food and refrigeration, d) test the theory widely held among vegetarians that eating meat causes aggression, and e) please the voters of Texas who seem to wish to make prison life less pleasant.

FC October 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Prison farms are usually a rehabilitation and work training program for selected inmates.

Mark Thorson October 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

They could raise soybeans. That’s a big industry, and there’s no risk of the prisoners being eaten by their charges.

dbp October 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Perhaps a stop-gap step would be to provide enough AC spaces so that physically challenged prisoners could get some respite on really hot days. This could be done more cheaply and rapidly than re-fitting a whole prison at once.

Alexei Sadeski October 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

The US is a weird place.

Chip October 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Texas is actually closing prisons as it scales back incarceration for drug offenses.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-drug-sentencing-reforms-could-be-model-for-4739554.php

Nikki October 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Assuming the legal system actually works as intended (and if it doesn’t, air conditioning is a minor concern compared to the rest), humans, unlike pigs, can take measures to avoid ending up in those housing areas lacking in comfort, so it’s kind of reasonable. Air-con for all, ideally, but if you have to choose one, why should the pigs suffer?

Phill October 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm

It pains me to see these arguments. Tyler, you’re starting to attract a really nutty band of trolls.

Erik October 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

What kind of sick thinking is this?

1. The assumption is dead wrong.
2. There is no sane reason not to give both the pigs and the prisoners adequate living conditions.
3. Prisoners are human beings as well….
4. What is the matter with you?

FC October 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Fer cryin’ out loud. I went to public schools in the Deep South that didn’t have air conditioning and it didn’t hurt me none. I certainly I learned to stay out of state custody.

David'. October 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Texans believe that prison should be unpleasant so that folks will try harder to stay out of them.

unionman October 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I was about to start trafficking drugs in hopes of getting a nice cushy prison cell, but now I find out there’s no AC? Forget it.

KPres October 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm

You’ve apparently never met a chronic criminal. I can actually see an extended stay without air conditioning putting them over the edge.

Steve October 20, 2013 at 12:13 am

Some part of the prison system should focus on the reentry into society part.

All else being equal. Would you want your new neighbor (former prisoner in this case) to be newly released from a horrible prison or a place where inmates are being treated better than pigs (i.e. as human beings)?

KPres October 20, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Because that’s all the more reason he won’t want to go back there?

Steve Sailer October 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Look, the point of this post is that Tyler is trying to hint what the point of his last post about Texas was. When he asked, “Does Texas portend the future of the United States?”

http://marginalrevolution.com/#sthash.pJQoh23Z.dpuf

the word “portend” gave away the game: he meant that the U.S. becoming more like Texas is a bad thing.

As I’ve been pointing out for a long time, we can estimate the effects of Hispanicizing the population of America from looking at states like California, Texas, and New Mexico. Out of those, Texas is about as good as it’s going to get, and (from the perspective of somebody in, say, New Hampshire) that’s not terribly good.

Rahul October 20, 2013 at 1:10 am

This is like reading fortunes in coffee grounds…..

Jim Woodhill October 20, 2013 at 5:34 am

REPLY TO STEVE SAILER:

Professor Cowen was more than “hinting” at Texas being the future of America. TIME Magazine’s current cover article, and a long one, is:

http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/printout/0,8816,2154995,00.html

Monday, Oct. 28, 2013
Why Texas Is Our Future
By Tyler Cowen

Steve Sailer October 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Check out my Taki’s Magazine column this coming Wednesday.

Douglas October 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Incentives matter. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” as Tony Baretta said.
There are easier ways to get AC than drug trafficking, my friends.
Just say “no.”

Steve October 20, 2013 at 12:19 am
KPres October 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

That study is about length of incarceration, not quality-of-life during said incarceration.

Brian Donohue October 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm

And that’s the name of that tune.

Ann K October 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I have lived in Central Texas all my life and didn’t get air conditioning until I was eight, in 1970.

Lee October 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

My older brother was incarcerated in a state prison in Tennessee Colony, TX without air conditioning two years ago. We corresponded mostly about books and family, and he rarely complained about his treatment or the conditions, but when he did it usually had to do with the summer heat. On one occasion in June, sewage water flooded his floor and he had to wear plastic bags on his shoes to stand up in his cell. Later that summer he and another inmate were left in the prison yard under direct sun for five hours; he noted that he was charged $100 by the infirmary for his second-degree sunburn treatment.

Obviously people’s *moral* intuitions about punishment differ. But surely we can get a consensus on the *political* question: should the state be empowered to put some of its citizens in turdwater hot-boxes for any reason?

stalin October 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm

to cool pigs raised for inmate consumption

Bread and water do not need cooling,

Alan October 21, 2013 at 12:10 am

Soylent Green.

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