V. interesting posting on punishment and climate over at Carceral Geography. There’s an interesting history of modifying the climate to torture and coerce POWs and detainees using extremes of heat, humidity and cooling as well. I’ve been exploring some of this background for my book on Air. PA

carceral geography

In summer 2011, ten inmates of the Texas state prison system, US, died of heat-related causes, a death toll that has alarmed prisoners’ rights advocates who believe that the lack of air-conditioning in most state prisons puts inmates’ lives at risk.In the fierce heat of July and August, prisoners suffered from hyperthermia, which occurs when body temperature rises above 105 degrees, and which can be exacerbated by hypertension, obesity, heart disease or antipsychotic medications, all of which can affect the body’s ability to regulate heat.

According to the New York Times, one inmate, Alexander Togonidze, 44, was found unresponsive in his cell at an East Texas prison called the Michael Unit at 8 a.m. on Aug. 8 with a body temperature of 106 degrees. The temperature in his cell, taken by prison officials 15 minutes after he was pronounced dead, was 86.2 degrees. Although prison officials say that they…

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2 thoughts on “

  1. Thanks for the reblog Pete – really interesting to hear that you’re thinking about these things too re Air. There’s certainly a body of opinion re Russian prisons in the Gulag period that the ambient climate constituted another layer of punishment – on the website from a recent project, we mapped the location of prisons with various climate data, to show what kind of conditions prisoners were facing (e.g. http://www.gulagmaps.org/maps/map.php?series=1&map=5354 where you can overlay permafrost extent and average January temperature). It’s a crude indication, but gives an impression of this effect of location of prisons.

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