DOC Summer 2022 Heat Action Plan


Most of the Department’s facilities are partially air-conditioned and one facility is fully air-conditioned. The Department prioritizes housing those individuals clinically designated as heat sensitive by Correctional Health Services (CHS) in housing units with air conditioning. Individuals designated as heat sensitive also have the right to refuse heat sensitive housing if they so choose - refusals are made in the presence of a medical provider who has explained the risks of refusal to the individual. In a small number of instances, security placement needs may override a heat sensitivity designation. Individuals who are not currently designated heat sensitive but would like CHS to re-evaluate their status can reach out to CHS at any time through the Sick Call Triage Hotline. Anyone who feels unwell as a result of the heat is taken to clinic for evaluation.

As a matter of policy, the Department works to house heat sensitive individuals in air-conditioned housing year-round. As of May 25, 2022,

  • The majority of people in Department custody (56%) were housed in air-conditioned housing units;
  • Of the 1,195 persons clinically designated as heat sensitive, 73% were housed in air-conditioned housing units;
  • Of 324 people clinically designated heat sensitive who are not in air-conditioned housing, 84% have signed a heat sensitive housing refusal form in the presence of a doctor. Persons wishing to be housed in air-conditioned housing after signing a refusal form can visit the clinic and be reevaluated by CHS at any time;
  • Unless the Department receives a signed heat sensitive housing refusal form, the Department’s policy is to house persons clinically designated as heat sensitive in air-conditioned housing, consistent with any current COVID restrictions and with consideration for overall operational security.

In preparation for Summer 2022, the Department completed the addition of air-conditioning to 22 additional housing units. In total, the Department currently operates 154 air-conditioned housing units. Due the age of the infrastructure in some of our locations, it’s not possible to add air-conditioning in every facility and housing unit, but the Department is continuing to work to add air-conditioning capacity to housing units and expects to have more air-conditioned housing units available this summer. The Department looks forward to new borough-based jails, which will be designed with climate control features throughout.