“This is government-sanctioned torture”: Hear how thousands live in U.S. prisons without A/C

From left to right: Dr. Benika Dixon, Dr. Carlee Purdum, Reverend Sharon White-Harrigan, Andrea Michelle, and Dr. Amite Dominick. Photo by Jackie Sedley.

There are currently no federal requirements for temperatures inside of state jails and prisons. This past summer was the hottest on record, and countless people were living in jails and prisons across the country without air conditioning. This is one of many issues that was addressed on Friday, September 29, at the Climate and Incarceration Symposium hosted on CU Boulder’s campus. The event was organized by Assistant Professor David Ciplet, and others from the Climate and Incarceration Research Collective. The event featured panels of experts, including people who are formerly incarcerated, impacted family members, organizational leaders and practitioners, and researchers.

KGNU and Report for America’s Jackie Sedley sat down with five of those panelists to discuss their lived experiences and the work they do for individuals impacted by incarceration.

Listen here.

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    10_03_23_APA_Incarceration Jackie Sedley

The panelists are:

  • Dr. Amite Dominick, Executive Director and Founder of Texas Prison Community Advocates.
  • Reverend Sharon White-Harrigan, co-founder of the Women’s Justice Community Association in New York.
  • Dr. Carlee Purdum, Research Assistant and Professor at Texas A&M Hazards Center.
  • Dr. Benika Dixon, Research Assistant and Professor at Texas A&M Hazards Center.
  • and Andrea Michelle, a formerly incarcerated individual in Texas and volunteer with Texas Prison Community Advocates.

This episode includes descriptions of violence, including sexual assault. Listener discretion is advised. 

Jackie Sedley

Jackie Sedley


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