Judge reviewing lawsuit settlement over hot Texas prison

Texas State Prison_494154

About 1,300 inmates who’d been sweltering in the Southeast Texas summer heat and suffocating humidity are getting air conditioning in their housing areas under settlement of a civil rights lawsuit under review by a federal judge who’s already accepted it.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison is considering objections to the agreement from about 20 inmates at a hearing Tuesday.

The tentative settlement, announced in February, resolved a lawsuit filed in 2014 by six inmates who contended the oppressive heat at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Wallace Pack Unit, about 95 miles northwest of Houston, was unconstitutionally cruel punishment.

The attorney for the inmates says the objections appear to be only misunderstandings.

Ellison last summer ruled the nation’s largest prison system was “deliberately indifferent” to the heat risks.

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