About 2,000 inmates in Iowa prisons endured last week’s extreme heat without air conditioning. Iowa Department of Corrections spokesperson Lettie Prell says staff members are trained to administer first aid for heat exhaustion, but there have been no incidents reported.
Most of the state’s nine prison facilities are air conditioned. The exceptions are the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility and the housing units at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. There are also some housing units at Mitchellville and Clarinda that rely only on fans.
Prell says she’s not aware of any discipline problems related to the recent heat wave. “If you’re talking about fights, there are always other reasons why there may be some tensions within an institution and it’s hard to say how many are caused only by the heat or if it would not have happened if it hadn’t been summer,” Prell said.
Newer buildings in the Iowa prison system are air conditioned because security doesn’t allow for open windows. Texas prisons face lawsuits over the lack of air conditioning, but Prell said she’s not worried about that happening here.