Resolution Reached Between Minnesota Prison And Inmates Who Refused To Return To Their Cells In Heat Wave, newsletter 3,
The Stillwater Correctional Facility in Minnesota says it peacefully resolved a situation concerning around 100 incarcerated people refusing to return to their cells.
ABC News reports that the inmates’ issues stemmed from excessive heat, lack of air conditioning, and limited access to showers and water during lockdowns over the past two months. A Department of Corrections spokesperson told ABC News that the situation was calm and peaceful throughout the day before adding that the prisoners expressed dissatisfaction because the guards had to limit their time out of their cells because they were understaffed.
Bart Anderson, executive director of the union representing Stillwater’s correctional officers, told ABC News that what happened is “endemic and highlights the truth behind the operations of the MN Department of Corrections with chronic understaffing.”
Anderson also said the understaffed facility upsets incarcerated people because their program and recreation time are interrupted due to factors outside their control.
Marvina Haynes, who works with an organization that assists incarcerated people, said that the prisoners’ actions were a reaction to the living conditions in the facility, which include a lack of access to clean water. Haynes, who works with Minnesota Wrongfully Convicted Judicial Reform and whose brother is an inmate at Stillwater, told ABC News.
“They didn’t have time to organize and plan,” Haynes said. “It was just … we’re not going back to that hot cell with no drinking water and not being able to shower.”
Haynes also expressed her hopes regarding a meeting with officials “to talk about the conditions that inmates are living in” and “solutions for the future.”
Kevin Reese, founder of the criminal justice organization Until We Are All Free, who was incarcerated there from 2006–2009, described the facility as a pizza oven during the summer months.
He told ABC News, “It is a 100-year-old building with no air conditioning, no central air. The walls actually sweat.”