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Official Texas violated settlement over hot prisons

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HOUSTON — The head of Texas’ prison system has acknowledged state officials violated the settlement of a lawsuit over oppressive heat faced by some prisoners.

During a court hearing Tuesday in Houston, Bryan Collier, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said officials failed to fix problems with an air conditioning system at one prison where inmates complained they felt like they were “roasting.”

Last year’s settlement resolved a lawsuit filed in 2014 over temperatures faced by prisoners from the Wallace Pack Unit, located northwest of Houston.

The inmates’ attorneys say prison officials have repeatedly violated the settlement.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison, who called the department’s actions “a perversion” of the settlement, was expected to issue a ruling at a later date on whether to sanction officials.

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