Judge rules heat levels on Angola death row subject inmates to ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, NOLA.com
Death row inmates incarcerated in unventilated cells and without access to cool water at Angola prison are being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, a federal judge in Baton Rouge ruled Thursday (Dec. 19).
In a 102-page ruling handed down six months after the suit was filed, Judge Brian A. Jackson said the high heat levels on death row at Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola, violated the 8th Amendment rights of the inmates housed there.
The suit was filed on behalf of three offenders who said the extreme temperatures exposed them to a heightened risk of irreparable harm or death because of specific health issues, like high blood pressure. But Jackson said his ruling would apply to all inmates on Angola’s death row, because prison officials could “move any death row inmate to a different tier and/or cell at any time.”
“Accordingly, the court finds that a remedy aimed at ameliorating the heat conditions throughout the death row facility is necessary to adequately vindicate plaintiffs’ rights,” the ruling read. As of February 2013, there were 82 inmates housed on Angola’s death row tiers.