- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota inmate is suing the state over a lack of air conditioning and ventilation at the prison he’s in, saying it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by Winston Brakeall, 50, asks a judge to find the Department of Corrections and Department of Health have violated the constitution by failing to attend to his medical needs as a diabetic inmate, the Argus Leader reported.

He referred to himself in the lawsuit as morbidly obese and said most of his troubles relate to Mike Durfee State Prison staff mismanagement of his condition.

“Plaintiff sweats excessively due to the constant heat and experiences severe cramps in his legs and arms,” the lawsuit stated. “Plaintiff has fallen repeatedly attempting to stand for count when his calves cramped and would not support him. Plaintiff could easily die from heat stroke.”

Prison warden Bob Dooley said inmate health and safety are taken seriously and that it’s not the intention of the Department of Corrections to punish inmates.

“It’s not the DOC’s business to punish inmates, and we don’t do that,” Dooley said.

Brakeall wants a judge to order corrective measures by installing a larger-capacity ice machine, repairing air conditioning, improving ventilation and reducing the number of inmates per room.

He also wants monetary payments that include damages of $10,000 from each defendant and fines of $1,000 per day for every day the heat index at Springfield exceeded 95 degrees Fahrenheit in 2016 and 2017.

The corrections department has not filed a response to the lawsuit.

Brakeall is being held at the prison for first-degree rape and sexual contact with a child.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com


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