LETTERS: Prisoners need air-conditioning, Modern Atlantis

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Prisoners need air-conditioning

Most of us sit, eat and sleep in air-conditioned rooms, close to a fan or even under the shade of a nearby tree trying to stay cool and hydrated in this record-breaking heat wave that is causing havoc in so many ways. Even the homeless and illegal immigrants are given some sort of haven to protect themselves from the punishing heat.

Unfortunately, there is a certain population of our United States who have no air-conditioning and are not able to find a means for staying cool. Who are they? They are inmates in many of Texas’ prisons. Of the 100 prisons that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates, only 29 have full air-conditioning. That is quite different from the 87% of American households that have in-home cooling systems.

Some say, “They did the crime, they pay the time.” I have been hearing that tired cliché since I worked as a counselor for a rehabilitation center many years ago. Our rehabilitation center was air-conditioned while many of our prisons were reaching 110 degrees every day during the summer.

Yes, maybe a large percentage of prisoners in the Texas prisons are guilty; however, some are there because of very poor legal representation, a byproduct of our corrupt legal system — and maybe some are actually innocent.

Inmates are fed in their cells at the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The Texas House has proposed numerous bills calling for air-conditioning in all state prisons but, as expected these days, the Senate “killed” all of them (even a bi-partisan proposal). Many of these senators are pro-life but have a very limited idea of what “life” is.

Prisoners are not animals, yet often animals are treated better than humans. Isn’t it ironic that these “holier-than-thou” public servants will do anything to protect the unborn, yet will completely ignore the living? I am very sure that the Lord meant all life must be protected and no distinction is made between rich, poor, citizen, illegal or free man and prisoner.

Now let’s change the season, because in winter the Texas prisons have no heating.

A few years ago, living in an all-electric appliance home we lost electricity for a few days. I don’t know about you, but I had to drive a distance to find food and I spent my time bundled up with my head throbbing from the cold. Boy, did we complain loudly, and evidently the governor heard us because supposedly, the problem has been solved.

I ask that all of us put ourselves in the prisoners’ shoes and imagine living in these conditions. I also ask you to begin speaking out and voice your dismay.

I know this is what being a good person and Christian is all about. Let’s not talk the talk but rather walk the walk. Thank you and may God bless each of you.

Irma Barrientes-Sherman


Modern Atlantis

What will history say about America in the future? A country that began my mass migration from Europe and ended 200-plus years later by mass migration from all nations on the planet?

That’s a very short history for any nation.

I am sure they will recall America’s great ingenuity in technology that moved humanity forward and at the end lost sight to move forward and just stopped and collapsed.

Yes, we are the Atlantis of the future that people will talk about and wonder why it just disappeared out of existence.

Rafael Madrigal


LETTERS — Limit letters to 300 words; all letters are subject to editing. Mail: P.O. Box 3267, McAllen, TX78502-3267; Email: [email protected]