Sweltering Summer Weather Stirs Familiar Concerns Over Heat in NYC Jails
Above: Adi Talwar for City Limits.
From City Limits, we have some timely and necessary reporting about the inexcusably inadequate cooling conditions within NYC jails. Despite the mayor's acknowledgement that “access to cooling is a matter of life and death” little is being down to ensure that some of the most heat-vulnerable New Yorkers are receiving that access.
"Sources who spoke with City Limits shared cases of broken or insufficient AC, fans blowing around hot air, and people waking up in their cells in pools of sweat due to poor ventilation. With July on track to be the Earth’s hottest month on record—and a predictor of brutal summers to come—the need for relief has only become more pressing."
"This week, a client told Brooklyn Defender Services that the air conditioning in his unit at Rikers Island’s Robert N. Davoren Complex (RNDC) is not working, and that there is just one fan to go around for the 42 men housed there. When the men asked about getting another fan, staff told them there was only one outlet.
Without cooling systems in place, those in the unit are sweating through their clothes at night, the client told his attorney.
The DOC’s heat plan also calls for people in custody to have access to showers throughout the day. According to the agency, cool showers are provided in non-air-conditioned areas. Brooklyn Defenders’ client said that at his unit at RNDC, the water only comes out hot, leaving limited options to cool down when the AC is not working.
A DOC spokesperson told City Limits the agency monitors water temperatures at its facilities. The agency did not respond to queries about how many AC outages its jails have experienced so far this season."
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