The state of Louisiana’s refusal to install air conditioning on death row has already cost taxpayers more than $1 million in legal bills, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.
The state could spend roughly the same money — and possibly much less — on an air conditioning system that would satisfy a federal judge’s order to protect death-row inmates from dangerous heat and humidity inside Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, reported The Advocate..
Instead, the corrections department and attorney general’s office have accrued at least $1,067,000 in expenses fighting the 3-year-old lawsuit filed on behalf of three inmates with medical problems. This tally, based on state documents provided in response to the AP’s public records requests, is the first public accounting of how much the case has cost taxpayers.
Most of the money has gone to private attorneys on opposing sides of the case, which the judge said could ultimately cost many more millions of dollars.
Expert witnesses and state contractors also have received tens of thousands of dollars. A list of expenses incurred by the prison itself adds up to more than $100,000, including an April 2014 payment of nearly $29,000 to a firm that was monitoring the heat and humidity every 15 minutes.
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