Most Florida Prisons Don't Have Air Conditioning, and People Are Dying From the Heat

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: Florida State Legislature

Climate change has caused scorching-hot days around the world, and the most vulnerable people are feeling the worst impacts. Even though we've known about the threat posed by climate change for four decades, many states are completely unprepared to handle this heat. Florida is one of them, where the majority of incarcerated people do not have air conditioning. There are even cases of people dying from the heat!

Sign now to demand the state of Florida commit to installing air conditioning in all of its prisons!

In Florida, only 40% of state-run correctional facilities offer air-conditioned housing units. This means that tens of thousands of incarcerated people are exposed to record-breaking temperatures, which will only continue to increase as the impacts of climate change worsen. Yet the Florida Department of Corrections is the third largest state prison system in the entire country, and has a whopping $2.7 billion budget. There is no good reason that some of that money can't go to keeping people who are locked up safe from the heat.

Heat waves are dangerous for everyone, but those stuck behind bars are at especially high risk. High temperatures pose threats to both the physical and emotional well-being of incarcerated people, and given that many people in U.S. prisons and jails are disabled, this population is at uniquely high risk for health consequences. Heat waves can cause increased fatalities overall and increased rates of suicide and self-harm. In fact, there are recent cases of people literally dying from heat stroke in prison because temperatures are so unlivable. To make matters worse, Black and brown men are disproportionately represented in Florida prisons because of systemic racism within the criminal justice system. Clearly the lack of air conditioning in prisons is an issue of environmental justice.

Florida cannot continue to pretend the planet isn't warming and fail to appropriately update state infrastructure. We must defend the human rights of incarcerated people and put pressure on the Florida state legislature to commit to installing air conditioning in all of their prisons. It could mean life or death for some people living behind bars. Sign the petition now if you agree!

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