BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The head of Louisiana's prison system says politics isn't a factor in the state's refusal to install air conditioning on death row, even though a lawsuit over the facility's heat levels already has cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

Jimmy LeBlanc, the state's corrections secretary, attended a hearing Wednesday in federal court on whether the state is adequately protecting three death row inmates from dangerous heat and humidity levels.

During an interview, LeBlanc said air conditioning death row could open an expensive "Pandora's box" while his department is facing deep budget cuts.

The state insists cold showers, ice and fans are adequately protecting the inmates who sued LeBlanc's department three years ago.

The inmates' attorneys disagree. They're urging a federal judge to reconsider air conditioning as a requirement on death row.


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.


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