Judge to hear testimony on Louisiana death row’s heat levels

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge is set to hear testimony on whether Louisiana prison officials are adequately protecting death-row inmates from dangerous heat and humidity levels in a facility where the state refuses to install air conditioning.

Three death-row inmates who sued three years ago over the sweltering conditions in their cells at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola are expected to attend Wednesday’s hearing in U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson’s courtroom.

Jackson ruled more than two years ago that Louisiana imposes unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment once the heat index on death row exceeds 88 degrees.

The state insists its current heat remediation measures — cold showers, ice chests and fans — are adequately protecting the plaintiffs.

The inmates’ attorneys disagree and are urging Jackson to reconsider air conditioning as a requirement.