AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the Texas Prisons Air-Conditioning Advocates set up a prison cell simulator on the west side of the Capitol Tuesday for their "Beat the Heat" challenge. Lawmakers and the public were invited to get inside to feel just how hot it can get inside a Texas prison cell.
Volunteers planned to have the inside of the box reach 120 degrees.
According to them, 14 people have died in Texas prison cells since 2007 because of a lack of air-conditioning and extreme heat.
Some of the advocates served time in prison themselves and said even if someone committed a crime, they don't deserve inhumane treatment.
"What really is the goal here," asked Jeanet Reyes of End Mass Incarceration. "Do you want to punish them or do you want someone to come back and contribute back into society? Pay taxes just like you and help make the world a better place?'
The groups planned the event to raise awareness of House Bill 936 and Senate Bill 321. The identical bills would require the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to maintain temperatures of 65-85 degrees in all Texas prisons.