Advocates for convicted felons have pointed out this summer that some Texas prisons do not have air conditioning.

Yesterday, we asked readers if this was an issue the Legislature should address.

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Here is a sample of the comments we received from our readers after they voted in the survey.

“We are treating prisoners worse than we treat our animals!” – Sherrye Nail
“Humans survived without air conditioning for millennia and many still do. Prison is not supposed to be a vacation. However, it is worth noting that the employees must also suffer these conditions, and one might make an argument that it should be done for their benefit.” – Larry Thacker
“A/C in Texas is just humane!” – Katherine Kelton
“Prison should not become a Holiday Inn. They elected to go there knowing there was no A/C. Make it so that they think twice before committing a crime.” – Corrine Jung
“Give them enough creature comforts, such as workout areas, libraries, art classes etc. AND air conditioning, then it’s just an apartment they can’t leave, not a prison.” – Garry Ludwig 
“The state of Texas has employees that must work in those extreme heat conditions in order to guard and give support services for the inmates. In my opinion, the medical cost from heat-related occurrences for both employees and inmates should be weighed against the cost of A/C.” – Kay Moore
“I said yes to A/C, mainly for the guards and employees.” – Rod Dixon
“As a former Corrections Officer, I worked those prisons with no A/C, I made it just fine without it. The criminals locked up there didn’t find themselves convicted of singing too loud in church.” – Kevin Bowden
“Prisons are supposedly meant to rehab prisoners. I think most would agree that doesn’t happen to the degree it should.  Adding sweltering temperatures to the mix is a step in the wrong direction.” – Jan Goria
“While prison isn’t supposed to be a vacation, it also isn’t supposed to be ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’ If every prison has heat for the winter, they should have cool for the summer. My definition of ‘cool’ could be accomplished with ‘swamp coolers’ that get the temperature to 80 or so. Subjecting prisoners to temperatures of 100+ is a bit cruel.” – Steve Sullivan
“If you hope to attract and keep qualified guards and employees, A/C in Texas is imperative.” – Patricia Forsythe
“Prison is not supposed to be a comfortable way of life. I went through 128-degree days with sandstorms and no air conditioning in Iraq for 16 months.” – Gary Hunt
“I volunteer as a chaplain in one of the men’s prisons near Palestine, and we have our church services in an un-air-conditioned gym. In the summer, it is oppressively hot.” – Eleanor Bigbie
“I went through twelve years of the government school system with No air conditioning. AC in the prisons? Not only no but hot as hell no!” – Terry Harper
“As a former TDCJ employee, I can empathize with inmates suffering in the intense heat. We all have to pay to have ac from our own pockets. If they must have A/C, why not invest in metered units in their ‘houses’? If they have commissary funds they wish to spend on air, they would be welcome to do so, but Texas taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for them to be comfortable.” – Suzanne Osborne
“If they want to be in an air-conditioned space, perhaps they should first strive to remain out of prison.” – Tara Souther
“Inmates serving life should be happy they are alive, as well as rapists and pedophiles for that matter. As for the rest of the inmates, prison should be a safe but harsh experience with few comforts to deter recidivism.” – Mike Masterson
“While I’m in favor of A/C in Texas prisons, it is primarily for the sake of the guards and other employees who work in that already hostile environment. I think the bill for the A/C and its maintenance should go to the prisoners.” – Sarah Miller
“Prison is not supposed to be comfortable.  In times gone by, a prisoner was thrown into a rat-infested dungeon with nothing but bars and four walls.  Today’s prisons are luxurious by comparison, even without air conditioning. Today, there are people that are more concerned with the rights – that have been taken away through due process –of criminal inmates than the rights of innocent citizens.” – Roger Taylor
“It is inhumane to deny even prisoners A/C, heat, beds, food, a place for hygiene care, or any other basic need. We are not putting them on trial by torture.” – Diana Koen
“As a volunteer at the John Middleton Unit, I can testify as to how hot it is in metal buildings. If we put people in prison for leaving a child or pet in a locked car, then how is it right to lock people up in hot buildings? … This is cruel and unusual punishment and, for some, a death sentence! This is not right!” – Hal Howell
“With dangerous Texas heat, all inmates deserve air conditioning.  We do not leave our animals out in the heat, nor should we leave people to suffer in intolerable heat.  I am not for making an easy life for inmates, but I do believe they should be treated humanely.” – Mary Gray
“No A/C! I am 71 years old and work outdoors in 100-plus degrees and freezing temperatures as well. Texas will not allow prisoners to work outside when I am able to do it. Therefore, let them be uncomfortable in their home away from home.” – Danny Thompson 
“If we are going to house inmates, we need to house them humanely.” – O. Machelle Morris
“I know prison is hardly a brand new invention. There actually were prisoners serving time back in the days before air conditioning – imagine that. If they survived with no A/C then, they ought to be able to survive with no A/C now.” – Andra Haney

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