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MN Prison Resolves Dispute With 100 Protesting Inmates Over Heat

Some 100 inmates protested the conditions of a Minnesota prison after being subject to extreme temperatures, The Guardian reports. The prison was put on lockdown after the inmates refused to return to their cells in response to limited access to showers, phone use, and recreation “due to staffing challenges” last weekend amid record-breaking heat in the region. The dispute at the Stillwater prison, Minnesota’s largest high-security institution for adult men, was resolved “peacefully” on Sunday, according corrections commissioner Paul Schnell. The prison in Bayport is located about 25 miles east of Minneapolis, which was under a heat advisory for temperatures nearing 100F. No injuries were reported at the prison, where the agency brought in negotiators and prison officers who specialize in responding to riots.


Advocates, some of whom have family members inside, from the Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and the MN Wrongfully Convicted Judicial Reform rallied outside the prison on Sunday. Communities United Against Police Brutality, another local activist group, posted on Facebook that the prisoners were “protesting a lack of access to clean water,” ice, and showers. “They have been locked in with no access to ice or showers for days due to understaffing,” said the post. “Some of the corrections officers are standing in solidarity with them." The situation is common in U.S. prisons. In Texas, temperatures are estimated to rise regularly above 115F and have been recorded to reach as high as 149F, pushing prisoners to the point of mental or physical breakdown, or even death. Stillwater is one of Minnesota’s nine prisons without facility-wide air conditioning.

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