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New Orleans Times Picayune: Angola prison inmate injunction deferred, judge asks for more information in extreme heat case

By Lauren McGaughy, | The Times Picayune 

 July 03, 2013 

A federal judge in Baton Rouge wants more information about the conditions at Angola prison‘s death row before deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by three inmates. The offenders filed the suit in June, claiming the high temperatures at Louisiana State Penitentiary death row facilities amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Nilay Vora, a lawyer representing the three inmates, countered by saying the tubs of ice water are placed outside of the inmates’ cells and that shower temperatures are consistently between 106 and 117 degrees, a fact Wilson acknowledged.

Vora argued the high temperatures — consistently above 90 degrees with a heat index of up to 197 degrees — amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

He said the fans simply blow around hot air, which can exacerbate heat-related illnesses, and noted the inmates are required to stay in their cells for 23 hours per day, where they are out of reach of the ice chests.

Vora added that the conditions amount to discrimination against these three inmates in particular, all of who suffer from hypertension and who are on medication that increases their chance for heat-related illnesses and death. Additionally, Ball is diabetic and Magee is on depression medication.

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