A New Orleans-based advocacy group filed a federal lawsuit yesterday alleging that hot temperatures create inhumane conditions for death row inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The Promise of Justice Initiative filed the suit on behalf of three inmates against the Department of Corrections, Jimmy Leblanc and prison wardens Burl Cain and Angela Norwood. Prisoners are forced to live in poorly-ventilated cells that lack air conditioning. Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees are not uncommon with the average being around 95. The humidity Louisiana can cause the heat index- the perceived temperature- to rise to 195 degrees as recorded in 2011. Forcibly exposing inmates to such life-threatening temperatures constitutes a form of cruel and unusual punishment. “The conditions on death row at Angola are horrifying, and a fundamental violation of Constitutional protections,” said Mercedes Montagnes, an lawyer for PJI and the lead attorney on the case.
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