Who cares about the temperature on death row?
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson visited the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola Monday to check out death row.
The judge’s field trip is going to be used in his decision in a lawsuit that challenges the heat conditions as unsafe for three condemned inmates with health conditions, according to a report in the Associated Press.
According to the article, windows and fans are the main sources for air on Angola’s death row. But a civil rights lawsuit was filed by their attorneys, saying the three men, who have hypertension and other health issues, could become sicker due to the heat. Prison officials argue, however, that the conditions are safe for the inmates.
Now, let’s break this down to the basics: These three inmates were found guilty and are awaiting death on death row, but their lawyers are worried the heat might kill them? People are actually worried that someone on death row might die? Isn’t that the point of death row?
Just last week, the Calcasieu Parish Council on Aging (COA) announced it was opening more public sites where senior citizens (none of which are in jail or on death row) could go to escape the oppressive summer heat. The Jeff Davis Parish COA regularly works with the public and Entergy to provide utility cost assistance and fans to help innocent seniors find relief. Still, because of utility costs and the little income most seniors receive monthly, many of our elderly only have ceiling and oscillating fans to help cool them in 100-plus degree weather. If they have central air or window units, most only run those machines for a certain amount of time each day.
Yet condemned murderers who are living on taxpayers’ dollars until their death are able to take complaints to court because they’re too hot?
You know, I’m not a complete supporter of the death penalty; deep down, I don’t enjoy seeing anyone lose his life. However, I do believe that if capital punishment were not an option in cold-blooded murder cases, we would see many more people taking others’ lives.
With that said, if someone does make the decision to take another person’s life, why should law enforcement or the public be concerned with the temperature in their jail cells? These people obviously had no respect for human life, the law, or their own lives when they committed a murder; yet some inmates and their money-hungry attorneys feel it is “unsafe” to only have a fan and window in Louisiana heat?
More and more, jails and prisons are becoming an inmate’s paradise rather than a place for punishment and rehabilitation. Though I realize the system does fail and there are actually innocent people behind bars – and even on death row – for crimes they did not commit, the majority of incarcerated men and women are imprisoned for very good reasons. I believe there should be law and order behind bars and most prisoners should not be treated as wild animals (though whatever happens to rapists, child molesters and abusers is not something I lose sleep over), but I also think prison should be just that – prison.
I’m just sayin’, if Louisiana’s elderly residents have no choice but to sit next to a fan or open window to find some slither of relief in this heat, why do murderers deserve any better?
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