Cases in Arizona, Mississippi and Wisconsin have also been decided in favor of prisoners suing over excessive heat or excessive cold in their cells
By Natalie Delgadillo | Governing
Before he died on the floor of his prison cell in East Texas, Robert Allen Webb asked for help.
“I’m feeling dizzy, weary, cramps, muscle spasms,” Webb wrote to prison medical personnel in 2009, according to The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization. He complained about being dizzy again in 2011, shortly before he was found dead on a mattress on the floor of his cell. His cellmate says Webb was trying to keep cool by sleeping on the floor. The day he died, it was over 100 degrees outside.
That year, Webb’s family believes, a deadly heat wave in Texas claimed his life. His autopsy revealed a potentially lethal amount of an antidepressant in his system, but the pathologist also noted Webb had several risk factors for heat exhaustion, including the prescribed use of psychotropic medication, which interferes with the body’s ability to regulate heat.