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Texas Perspectives is a wire-style service produced by The University of Texas at Austin that is intended to provide media outlets with meaningful and thoughtful opinion columns (op-eds) on a variety of topics and current events. Authors are faculty members and staffers at UT Austin who work with University Communications staffers to craft columns that adhere to journalistic best practices and Associated Press style guidelines. The University of Texas at Austin offers these opinion articles for publication at no charge.

Columns appearing on the service and this webpage represent the views of the authors, not of The University of Texas at Austin.

  • Summer Heat Kills Inmates in Prisons, and That Needs to Change

    Summer Heat Kills Inmates in Prisons, and That Needs to Change

    By Ariel Dulitzky, Director of the Human Rights Clinic; Alex Goeman & Samantha Chen, Students of the Human Rights Clinic
    Published: June 26, 2014

    The failure of the TDCJ to address the extreme heat conditions in its prisons is a violation of the law, both from a constitutional and international perspective.

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      christina brown said on July 17, 2014 at 9:20 p.m.
      These are people that we are talking about just because they commited a crime doesnt mean they arent human it is a 100 fucking degrees outside you cant even breathe are legal system is a joke everybody makes mstakes the TDJC is not God and they can not decide how someone is going to live and pay for there crimes oh there criminals lets punish them by not providing them with air and inhumane living conditions really I cant wait til judgement day your all going to hell do unto others stupid idiot's
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      Byron D. Grays said on July 12, 2014 at 1:42 p.m.
      @TDCJ Correctional Officer et al, I find your responses both, predictable and your "[new]cause to take on...", the 8:45 and :15 policy or rule. I shall address the 8:45 shift /:15 min break requires little effort or thought. Moreover, I shall site to one of your responses, as it is an appropriate response for this particular "cause". You wrote, "Where would the funds come from? Higher taxes? I am sure that all who think TDCJ is so heartless and violating rights..." Certainly you would agree, by enacting a break policy consisting of more than :15 min for your work group would ultimately be fiscally 'taxing' for the citizens of Texas. As such, I would support in-house training of you and your colleagues so that you're better able to identify colleagues who may be a bit fatigued from, as you wrote, "working at top speed for 8 to 12 hours." I find your responses to the unconstitutional conditions of our TX inmates, perpetrated by the governmental entity of the TDCJ just as ridiculous as, I'm quite sure, you find YOUR responses when I insert them to address your break issue. The TDCJ has a duty of care to the inmates within the housing units of their facilities. Clearly they (TDCJ) have and continue to knowingly and with wanton disregard for the well-being of these texas citizens, breach their duty. Quite possibly, the federal government needs to intervene in this matter as it becomes quite clear, those administrators here in Tx, who are empowered to implement needed change will not, shall not and quite possibly feel that they themselves are above federal law. Such conditions are wholly unacceptable. We are not a third world country or state. Nor is our inarticulate governor above the law. We have gone to war with other nations who dared to treat their own citizens this poorly. When last I checked, no one had appointed me judge, juror or executioner, as the TDCJ must feel they are during the summer months in their facilities. Now back to your problematic 15 min break ordeal. Here's a novel approach...Circulate a 'survey' or better yet a petition among your coleagues and enlist those in your work group at the other facilities to do the same. Let several voices unite as one and meet with your administrators to hammer out a more reasonable schedule of breaks. If that fails, UNIONIZE...Under a collective bargaining agreement, hours of work and break scheduling shall be enumerated within the body of the collective bargaining agreement (your contract). Respectfully, Byron D. Grays President and Principal Officer, TheAdvocacyGroup, LLC
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