Eastern Iowa Prisoners Battle Heat Without Air Conditioning
By Mark Carlson, Reporter
MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa - Extreme heat has caused prison officials to make some changes at the Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility. There is no air conditioning in the living areas of the facility, which currently holds about 850 prisoners.
“Today it’s really warm in there, tomorrow it will be warmer,” said prison superintendent Ron Mullen, who estimated the interior of the prison to be in the low-to-mid 90’s Thursday.
This week inmates are allowed to return to their beds to get rest anytime during the day. Normally the prison requires inmates to complete all daily duties before allowing them to return to their living areas.
“Normally at 7 a.m. it’s boots on the ground and you don’t go back to your bed,” Mullen said. “Sometimes they have difficulty going to sleep at night because of the heat, it could be 2:30 in the morning before they actually go to sleep, and so it just helps to maintain their levels of rest.”
Prisoners are also given ice twice a day to help keep cool.
“It really helps cool them down,” Mullen said.
So far prison officials say they haven’t received many complaints from inmates about the conditions. Some areas of the prison have air conditioning, such as the library and education center.
“They’re not angry about it, it is what it is right now,” Mullen said. “I can tell you the men who are here, and I talk to them a lot, they’re very resilient.”
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