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Air conditioning lacking in NC prisons, despite funding

Prison cell
DOliphant via Flickr

Last fall, the North Carolina General Assembly approved $30 million to address a lack of air conditioning in the state's prison system. But with summer approaching, none of the actual construction has begun.

WRAL-TV reports that although most prisons have at least some air conditioning, about 15,400 beds are in unairconditioned rooms, according to a breakdown provided by the state.

Prison officials in Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration hope to have the first three projects complete around the start of next year.

At the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women in Raleigh — the system’s largest facility for women — three-quarters of the beds don’t have air conditioning. Kristie Puckett Williams, the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for engagement and mobilization, said the temperature can get to above 100 degrees in the summer inside the prison.

The campus will be one of the first prisons retrofitted with air conditioning. Prisons spokesman John Bull said Dan River Prison Work Farm and Caswell Correctional Center are also top priorities.

Bull said several things complicate the effort, including the high demand right now for construction crews across the economy, as well as supply chain issues.

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