We like to say everything is bigger in Texas. Bigger skies. Bigger stories. Bigger business. Bigger prison systems. Especially our prison systems. Texas is so legendary that the word itself has become slang in Norway. To Norwegians, “Texas” is a word that is included in everyday conversation. eir phrase “Der var helt texas!” ( at was very, totally Texas!) describes any situation that is irrational, outrageous, and unmanageable, with anarchy in charge. Norway delights in cowboy movies, especially those filmed in or depicting Texas so much that the name of the state has become a symbol of uncontrolled lawlessness, without restraint, according to Daniel Gusfre Ims, the head of the advisory service at the Language Council of Norway. If they could watch movies based on the Texas prison complex there would be many more vocabularies involving the state.
The first Texas prison opened with three reprobates detained in 1849. In 2021, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was supervising 133,772 incarcerated convicts. This year there were 104 facilities, including 11 privately operated sites, located across the state. Texas has an allinclusive lock up rate of 840 per 100,000 people, meaning that it restrains a higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth. Norwegians know how hot and dusty our state is from the Western lms they love. In 2022 the American Housing Survey found Houston to be the most air-conditioned city in the world, but in the Houston area alone there are 13 prison units holding 21,690 incarcerated people without adequate air conditioning. Texas jail standards require temperature control between 65 and 85 degrees, but during recent summers, temperatures have reached 150 degrees in some prisons. Texas enforces laws to protect animals from extreme heat; the Texas Department of Correction’s pig barns are air conditioned, but 70% of its Incarcerated citizens are not.
About half of interned Texans live with chronic illnesses. Many imprisoned diabetics are dependent on prescribed life-saving insulin, a heat-sensitive medication that must be stored chilled. More are prescribed psychotropic medications which prevent the body from cooling by sweating, making those individuals more susceptible to the consequences of extreme heat. Their daily choice becomes taking their medication or risking heat-related death due to the side effects. To survive the prisoners flood their toilets and lay down in the water to try to regulate their core body temperature. Their metal beds burn flesh and the privilege of renting a state supplied fan