Texas Spends $7 Million Fighting Demand To Add Air Conditioning To Dangerously Hot Prison . . . Then Installs The System For $4 Million

PrisonCellTexas recently settled a legal fight over its failure to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack Unit near College Station — a facility long deemed dangerously hot in the summer. In the wisdom only known to bureaucrats, the state spent $7 million to fight the lawsuit and ultimately paid $4 million to simply put in the air conditioning system.

Rather than simply focus on the obvious need for the system, Texas went to court to blindly defend against the reasonable demand.  Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier insisted that the cost was originally pegged at $20 million. If so, the Department has equally poor logistic as it does litigation judgment.  Even before the litigation, the cost had dropped mysteriously to $11 million and then later to $4 million. However, the state still spent $11 million due to its decision to litigate the matter and spend more than $7 million on the lawsuit.

38 thoughts on “Texas Spends $7 Million Fighting Demand To Add Air Conditioning To Dangerously Hot Prison . . . Then Installs The System For $4 Million”

  1. This was what I was talking about before. When there is a third party paying the bills, costs escalate.

    The Texas prison system should have installed air conditioning because they are responsible for housing prisoners in a hot state. It fought because it was taxpayer money they were spending. People are amazingly generous with other people’s money…until they run out. That’s the universal evolution of fiscal behavior. This is also why Socialism also fails.

  2. Going back to chain gangs in the hot summer sun would do a lot of good in this country. Prison should be a miserable experience, designed to convince the offender NOT to return. Recidivism rates in the USA are much too high and it’s because prison becomes a comfortable lifestyle for the repeat offender.

    1. it already is a miserable experience pretty much everywhere outside “club fed” and any minsec camp.

      a/c is mandatory for humane conditions in hot climates, otherwise it’s seriously an 8th amendment cruel punishment, even if the Founder’s didnt have it. I would rather be flogged and done with it in a day than spend a year in a hot lockup in Arizona. say

    2. That’s because, of course, the CORRECTIONS system we have in this country is perfect–there’s no racism, no escaping responsibility due to wealth or influence, no over-prosecutions or prosecutorial misconduct, nor any other flaws in administering perfect justice–right? Why do you think the word “corrections” is used?

      1. Why do you think the word “corrections” is used?

        Because politicians ca. 1965 fancied punishment should be replaced with social work, hence the simple “Department of Prisons” was replaced with “Department of Correctional Services” and ‘jail guard’ and ‘prison guard’ replaced with ‘corrections officer’. Return to the previous usage.

  3. Find out who the lawyers were and what connections they had with contractors and local politicians, sure to be a Billy Bob brother-in-law or family in there somewhere.

  4. Is it a ‘reasonable demand’ to have judges conspiring with ‘public interest’ lawyers micromanaging public expenditure? Had they caved, how would that precedent have been exploited?

  5. Hah..in my small city, I ask them to trim the trees, they say “no”, I ask if I can trim them myself, “no, they are ours” and when the branches break my roof, the City Insurer pays. Government.

  6. It is pretty clear that Collier’s cost estimate of $20 million was high because it included legal fees to cover a fight all the way to the Supreme Court🏛. He came in under budget by settling the suit🤑.

    I’m proud of our government here in California. It wastes huge amounts of money (e.g. bullet train), but at least it does not waste money on legal positions designed to ensure that prisoners die from heat stroke.

    1. Don de Drain – so, let me get this straight. There are some ways of wasting huge sums of money more acceptable than others. 😉

    2. What else does CA waste money on, besides your excellent example of the vacation train to San Francisco?

      1. It policies and programs enable and encourage homelessness, which results in trash, infectious human waste and needles, and we have people high out of their minds, drunk and reeling, or just out of their minds staggering around in shopping centers and literally pooping in the shrubbery in front of restaurants. Los Angeles County has budgeted over $400 million to deal with the homeless, with more homeless to show for it. (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-city-homeless-budget-20180430-story.html). In CA, you cannot be given a free shopping bag, and in many places, a straw, because of the plastic polluting our oceans. However, the homeless are allowed to encamp in dry riverbeds, spreading trash, feces, urine, dirty needles, etc, which all washes down to the ocean every rainy season. I would not ever walk barefoot anywhere near where a tributary drains to the sea in CA, not unless you want to get poked by a heroin addict’s dirty needle. San Francisco spends roughly a quarter of a billion annually on homeless, without a decrease in homelessness. Now, they have poop maps to give to tourists, and conventions get cancelled. Visitors are appalled. It’s worse than a third world country out there with all the addicts, drunks, and crazy people defecating and shooting up on the sidewalk. That is a health hazard to the general public, and not much fun for the homeless, either.
      2. CA spends millions of taxpayer money fighting the federal government in court, setting up “sanctuary” states and cities, often expressly offering protection to violent illegal alien felons. Hmmmmm, what will the result on crime be if they proclaim that they will protect violent felons from being deported?
      3. In another misuse of funds, CA emptied its overcrowded jails, reduced the severity of many crimes, removed monetary bail so people can just be let out, and is offering a mental health get out of jail free card to criminals.

      CA politicians are dong their darnedest to plow a prosperous, beautiful state right down into a state worse than the third world. With poo maps, it is literally a sh&(&*&hole. I should know. I recall when I was in one of the cities in LA county, asking why I smelled poop. It turns out a city worker in nothing more protective than a simple dust mask was leaf blowing the street. The homeless have pooped over so much square footage of LA streets that their feces is now part of the city dirt. When they leaf blowed, you smelled poop, which means you inhale human waste that can be infectious with so many diseases.

      CA has no moral high ground. It has abdicated all responsibility for caring for its people.

        1. Natacha:

          As I have told you three times now, I am not your honey. Refrain from addressing me in the misogynistic derogatory fashion towards conservative women that the Left seems so fond of. The misogyny and racism of the hard Left is a real turnoff.

          And, yes, based on the usurious taxes and policies, Progressive CA does indeed dislike gainfully employed citizens, African Americans, as well as legal immigrants.

        2. Natacha – I don’t think you speak for the entire state. Nick lives out there.

  7. As a long-time observer of the antics of this near antidiluvian organization, I am never surprised at the bass-ackward strategies adopted. This is Texas, where many, many of the cops wear cowboy hats and boots with spurs (in the rural counties it’s ALL cops) and subscribe to some sort of “Law West of the Pecos” type mentality. This is a prison system with over 100 prison units which still uses overseers on horseback to run their “boys” as they tend the fields, hogs, cattle and horses (who knew that four-wheelers would ever be invented?). Just as with the Ruiz federal suit which finally eradicated the “building-tender” practice (inmates with keys who were in charge of and controlled other inmates) in the 1980’s. these modern-day federal lawsuits will perhaps drag the TDCJ into at least the early part of the 21st century.

    1. Marky Mark Mark – I am sure you are unaware that horses can be controlled with just your legs and knees, while a 4-wheeler takes two hands. The horses can ride down the crop rows without tearing them up and the rider is above the crop. Oh, and you can shot from a horse. They are trained to make a stable firing platform. You can ask Karen S for other advantages.

      1. Excellent points. Although I am a native of Texas, I am proudly from the city. I like concrete, neon, and air conditioning. I have ridden a horse exactly two times–as an adolescent on a trail ride. I will give you one guess as to which party involved in my horse-rides was in control. The hint is that the controlling entity enjoyed walking under low branches with me aboard. Your points–combined with TDCJ’s “Code of the West” mentality, is likely the reason they’re still enamored with (actual) horsepower.

        1. Mark:

          “The hint is that the controlling entity enjoyed walking under low branches with me aboard.” Ahhh, that’s just a little game they like to play, and yes, it is on purpose.

          Someone new to riding is probably painful to carry. They are too rough with the reins and don’t balance their weight. Any trail horse that doesn’t constantly flip their head and try to scrape off their rider, with an innocent look on their faces, is either an angel or dead mouthed/sided. I just barely squeeze my fingers to engage the bit, when I ride in one. It’s a jointed bar of metal on their gums.

          Here’s another nugget. Someone scared of horses is absolutely irresistibly interesting to them. If someone nervous goes into a corral to catch a horse, he will become surrounded by every horse there. What’s wrong? Why are you scared? Is there danger? If I move closer to you, can I make you back up? How about faster??? Ohhhhh, you have a carrot? GIMME!!!

          1. I read all the Black Beauty books as a youngster. I loves horses; I go to racetracks in Houston and Dallas. However, ever since Superman was paralyzed by a horse ride, I have believed that I am too untrained and skittish to ever go near one, either on foot or astride. It’s odd, I’ll ride a sport bike at 140 M.P.H, but can’t see myself ever getting on a horse again.

            to karen

            1. Mark:

              Christopher Reeve got his hands tangled in his mare’s reins as he came off over her head, when she refused a bank. He fell off on the high side, and had time to rotate so that the back of his head hit, with his hands pinioned. It was a frightening freak accident.

              The more common wreck is getting hung up in the stirrup. That usually happens from having an iron that’s too big, or a shoe without a heel, like a tennis shoe. Or a loose girth where the saddle slips. The horse drags the rider in a panic, kicking what she thinks is a foreign predator the entire time. There are safety stirrup hangers, but they tend to get a little stiff.

              You are more likely to get seriously injured coming off a bit at 140 than a horse. If you fall off a horse, the most likely scenario is a long grumbling walk of shame back to the barn with dirt on your backside.

              What people have a hard time with is that horses are living, breathing animals with a will of their own. There is no mechanical braking system. No anchor pops out the back when you depress the bit. He stops because he’s responding to a cue, and he may just decide not to stop. A motorcycle will not get frustrated or pained with your lack of communication or skill. At some point, every rider from a weekend trail rider to a serious competitor recognizes that look a horse gives when he has decided he is emphatically not going to do what you’re asking in a vote of no confidence.

        2. a native from texas who only rode twice. why an i not surprised.

          are you going to retract your false quote of yesterday that I reject the rule of law, mark m, or the one where you said I watch hannity and “bag his balls?” despicable slanderer you are

      2. Paul – you hit all the best reasons why horses would be used. They also have an advantage over motorcycles because of the ease of riding without hands, and they wouldn’t tear up a place like a motorcycle. A police horse is also trained to push against an unruly crowd that could tip over a bike. A draft or draft cross police horse is a lot more intimidating to someone on the ground than a cop on foot or on a motorcycle.

        A vehicle would have to destroy a field, and as you pointed out, you wouldn’t have the height advantage.

        Plus, if you have to work with convicts all day, you might as well have some good equine company. Their slow breathing is relaxing, they’re fun to ride, and if you ride bitless they can graze on the job. I would imagine that having a horse nearby might be nice for the convicts paying their debt to society, too. In fact, there are convict equestrian programs that help turn some of them around.

        Mark – the only Texas cops who wear spurs would be those on mounted patrol who need spurs. Plenty wear a cowboy hat, however. Makes sense in a hot state. A cowboy hat keeps the sun off the back of your neck in a way that a cap cannot.

        1. Karen S – by tradition the Texas Rangers wear Stetsons. Those are not cheap.

    2. i would rather pick cotton at parchman farm in the hot sun, at least not bored and outside, than sit in a hot concrete box in arizona 23 hours a day, sweating like a pig, eating green baloney sandwiches and wrapping up in sheets to keep the roaches off at night. some US prisons are atrocious even by third world standards

      1. Mr Kurtz – if you were surrounded by concrete 24 hours a day your got air conditioning. If you are at Tent City you get swamp cooling. The tents are military surplus. If it is good enough for the military it is good enough for prisoners. The SC says so. 😉

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