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Articles by Alleen Brown

Alleen Brown is an investigative reporter who covers environmental justice and the ways the climate crisis impacts criminalized populations.

Featured Article

“We are basically sitting in an oven, slow-cooking,” said Demetrius Cotchery, who is incarcerated in Alabama’s Childersburg Community Work Center, a prison that lacks air conditioning despite outdoor temperatures that hover above 90 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. “People are very, very agitated because of the heat.”

As record-breaking heat waves make headlines across the country this summer, well over 100,000 people in the U.S. South sit locked inside state prisons with no air conditioning. At the Buckingham Correctional Facility outside of Richmond, Virginia, even the unairconditioned facility’s ventilation system was broken much of the summer, according to Chad Miller, who is incarcerated there and works with the building and grounds crew. (When contacted by Grist, Virginia’s corrections department disputed this claim.) Miller recently witnessed another prisoner fainting from heat stress.

In Texas, where temperatures inside state prisons regularly hit 110 degrees F, some prisoners work seven days a week to implement the state’s heat mitigation policies, by, for example, distributing water and ice. Marcus Teamer, who is incarcerated at the Byrd Unit in Hunts... Read more