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John Oliver criticises US carceral system for ‘cooking prisoners to death’ without air-conditioning

·2-min read
John Oliver criticises US carceral system for ‘cooking prisoners to death’ without air-conditioning

John Oliver has hit out at the US carceral system for “cooking prisoners to death” through a lack of air conditioning.

Presenting Last Week Tonight on Sunday (13 June), Oliver discussed the rising temperatures and lack of air conditioning in prisons.

The comedian cited a 2019 article claiming that 75 per cent of Texas’s prisons do not have air conditioning, despite temperatures being expected to reach 35 degrees celsius in the coming weeks.

“It’s been getting hotter and hotter outside… so tonight, we’re going to talk about popsicles,” Oliver said. “There are tons of them in America and when they get too hot, it can be a real problem. Sorry, did I say popsicles? I meant prisons.”

Describing the lack of air conditioning in many of the country’s hottest states – including Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama – as one of “the injustices of mass incarceration”, Oliver described the practice as “remarkably dangerous” for older prisoners in particular.

“I would argue that the only time getting murdered by the heat is acceptable is if you’ve committed the crime of being a lobster,” he joked.

“But unless you happen to be a tasty sea weirdo with edible arms and a pile of scrumptious ass meat that pairs beautifully with melted butter, I’m going to say that that is very wrong.”

Oliver continued: “While this is clearly just one small part of a much larger discussion about whether and how prisons should exist in this country, until such time as we have that discussion, there’s actually an easy solution to this one problem, and that is, prisons need air conditioning, so put air conditioning in. That’s it.

“I know this show has trained you to anticipate nuance, but this one is really pretty straightforward. We shouldn’t be cooking prisoners to death, the end.”

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