Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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May 18, 2014

Death in hot jail cell highlights national issue

(Continued)

In court papers filed last month, inmates interviewed by The Legal Aid Society's lawyers during the summer of 2013 — when for seven straight days in July temperatures exceeded 90 degrees — said the oppressive heat made them feel dizzy and delusional and agitated their asthma and other health conditions.

"I feel like I'm dying in the cell," said inmate Freddie McGrier, according to court documents.

Nearly 800 New York City inmates are designated as heat sensitive by health staff and are supposed to be moved within hours to an air-conditioned unit when the outside temperature is above 85 degrees, the DOC says.

In a statement, a DOC spokesman said officials are improving their procedures, maintenance and staff performance to make sure jails are safe.

Alma Murdough, the mother of Jerome Murdough, announced Friday at a news conference that the family plans to file a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit.

"I know he was yelling for help and nobody ever came," she said.

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