Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

From Texas Standard:

Over the span of 14 years, 22 prisoners died from extreme heat in state prisons across Texas. That number reflects only what state prison officials have acknowledged, though. According to human rights advocates and health experts who have visited those prisons, the number of heat deaths is much higher.

This week, a federal judge signed off on a deal that could be historic – and yet, other prisoners say it doesn't go far enough or fast enough.

Jennifer Whitney / Texas Tribune

Texas phased out the use of solitary confinement as punishment for prisoners this month, but it still plans to keep thousands alone in cells.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Jason Clark said the department has been moving in this direction for some time.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Walking outside lately, you've probably noticed Texas' triple-digit temperatures. For those living or working in some of the state's prisons, going outside isn't even required to feel the heat, because some units do not have air-conditioning. Inmates have sued to get some relief, and this week they were handed a victory of sorts.

Billy Hathorn/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

A type of synthetic marijuana that is undetectable on standard drug tests is quickly becoming the most popular form of contraband in Texas prisons.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The federal government announced that it's phasing out its use of privately run prisons and now, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is warning that it too could close prisons, lay off 1,200 employees and stop providing certain inmate services – but not because of privatization.

Mike Ward, Austin bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle, says, like other states, Texas has fewer inmates now than in recent years.