ACLU: Inhumane for Ohio to shut off prison power in exchange for payments

By David Edwards
Friday, July 19, 2013 10:41 EDT
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["Young Man In Prison" on Shutterstock]
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio is urging state officials to stop accepting payments from energy companies in exchange for temporarily shutting off power to prisons during peak periods.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections has said that 24 of 26 prisons are participating in a program where KOREnergy pays the department to switch to generator power when demand is at the highest.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that “power for lights, fans, televisions and other electrical devices was shut off on two afternoons for three to four hours” during the heat wave this week.

Most prisons in Ohio are not cooled with air conditioning.

Although the program has generated $1.3 million over three years, the Ohio ACLU warned this week that the savings was not worth the risk to inmates and custody staff.

“No matter what amount of money it is, it does not excuse us from treating them humanely,” ACLU director of communications and public policy Mike Brickner told WKSU. “And it also doesn’t excuse putting staff members in a possible dangerous situation.”

Listen to this audio from WKSU, broadcast July 19, 2013.


[Stock photo: Prisoner via Shutterstock.com]

(h/t: Think Progress)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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