last night on late night

John Oliver Raises Prison-Heat Awareness on Last Week Tonight 

Summer is here: The sun is out, the city reeks, and temperatures in prisons are rising to unhealthy levels. Across the country, prisoners are being subjected to inhumane temperatures that make those with heat sensitivities at even higher risk of complications. In Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver monologues about this annual tradition of torture in prisons in some of the hottest places in the country, including Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and more. In New York, the equal-justice nonprofit Legal Aid found that the city’s Department of Corrections kept detainees in cells on Rikers Island with no air-conditioning for up to 25 hours during a 2019 heat wave. “We’re supposed to run prisons, not concentration camps,” Lance Lowry, the former head of a corrections officer union in Texas, says in a clip. “These are institutions for incarceration. Incarceration is their punishment, not cooking them to death.” And, really, his initial comparison should be all it takes to put in air conditioners. But lawmakers in states like Texas, where the United Nations Committee Against Torture has expressed “particular concern” about deaths from extreme heat in prisons, claim they can’t afford it. “[Texas] actually spent $7 million on a lawsuit to fight installing AC in one prison’s housing area despite the fact that the estimated cost of installation was only around $4 million,” Oliver explains. Watch John Oliver refute the several ridiculous justifications for inhumane treatment above.

John Oliver Raises Prison-Heat Issue on Last Week Tonight