— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The record-setting heat is taking a toll on those who work and live in prisons without air conditioning.
Correctional officers say elevated temperatures can leave prisoners with shorter fuses.
"Obviously, we are not dealing with the best people society has to offer," said Daniel Vollmer, a correctional officer at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington. "It is no big surprise Oklahoma summers tend to put people on edge."
Mike Rogers is a unit manager at James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena.
"Things get a little more tense and a whole lot quicker," he said.
Addressing issues that arise among prisoners because of the heat detracts from his regular work duties, he said.
"Staff have found themselves handling a whole lot more smaller issues that normally wouldn't happen simply because of the heat, and being short-handed escalates problems a lot quicker than normal," Rogers said.
Sgt. David Edelman works the midnight shift at Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.
"Well, when I go in at midnight to work, it is still in the mid-90s," Edelman said. "It makes it to where the only thing you can think about is water. You get very lethargic. Unfortunately, when you become lethargic like that, you become complacent."
The problem is compounded for officers working double shifts, Edelman said.
He said most offenders don't sleep through the night because of the heat.
Edelman believes disturbances at the facility are increasing as a result.
"Everybody becomes more and more irritated," he said. "The littlest thing can set one of the inmates off."