It's pretty uncomfortable out there, with temperatures in the high nineties to triple digits all this week.  Good thing you're not in prison.

  Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports none of the cell blocks on Texas state prison units have traditional air conditioning.  Some have air conditioning in infirmaries and psychiatric units, but for the inmate in the five by nine cell, it really is 'the hot box' this time of year.

  "We provide water, we provide ice, we provide fans," said Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville.

  He says the state recently invested in a new cooling system for some of the prison units, buying 28 so called 'Cool System' fans, which are similar to the large fans you see behind the benches at football games.


  He says those fans are being placed in the 'day rooms where inmates congregate, but only in seven prison units.

  "Those facilities were chosen because they house offenders who are new to the system, what we call the 'intake process'," Hurst says.

  He says the hottest days of the summer don't affect work schedules.  Many inmates work on prison farms or do other outdoor and shop work, he says that continues regardless of the temperature.

  A group of prison guards and prisoners rights groups have repeatedly sued the state prison system, saying forcing inmates to live in triple digit summer temperatures without air conditioning amounts to cruel and inhuman punishment, and point out that a hog barn at a prison farm near Huntsville is air conditioned.  Guards also complain that they have to share the hot conditions with the inmates, leading to unsafe working conditions.


  The state says air conditioning prison units, many of which are a century old, would cost in the billions of dollars, and making prisoners more comfortable is not a priority for Texas taxpayers.