Open Records #43

43.Heat.Columbia.Open Record


  1. Log of emails from IWOC members and others helping:    All forwarded to T.Cook, PR

C.     Responses of DOC people during day 12/11/18 regarding heating issues:

From:  Cook To:  Novak 12/11/18   1037am Re: Heat     “Could you give me a quick call?”

     First recorded  response from a DOC person

From:   Cook to    Novak 12/11/18  237 pm Summary of weekend heating issues saying issues were minor and temps were not outside acceptable  parameters. Cc to Clare Hendricks

From:  Clare Hendricks to T. Cook 12/11/18  239 pm asking if acceptable parameters are defined somewhere

From Novak to Hendricks 12/11/18 422 pm  thinks there is a policy but not certain; searched for policy but couldn’t find one;  building and grounds person assured her temps are kept above what is required tho there appears there is no policy that specifies what is required    p17

From Hendricks to Novak  12/11/18 425 pm recommends  specific policy to reinforce practice and actions   p17

D.     Mentions from prison personnel about heat issues

12/5/18  Service Request HVAC “adjust temps offices are cold per Superintendent Thompson 12/7/19 Service Request HVAC  “main laundry boiler not heating or firing”

12/11/19 Service Request HVAC “mail room system is too hot need to repair valve”; repaired valve, air pressure was low

E.     Daily Report  CCI Security Shift Report  12/8/2019; at 0015 “Sgt.Schneider reports no heat on the B side. Messages left with building and grounds,& Superint. Thompson “

No further mention of lack of heat in survey of Operations Centers or Housing Units for this day

Daily Report 12/8/19  above report was for 3 shifts and with more detail;  this report was more of a summary with same information;  NO MENTION OF HEATING ISSUES

From Healey,Erica DOC

To:  DOC DL  DAI CCI  staff

Sent Mon 12/10/18

Subject  : Safety Newsletter     Headline: Preventing Cold Stress


12 people recorded in open record  sending emails; does not account for phone calls

            6 sent late, in evening, presumably after people get home from work and check alerts

                                for the zap

            6 sent late am and early afternoon

4 open record requests recorded

Earliest email from us  was 1022am; first response from DOC person was 1037 from Cook to Novak asking for a phone call.    Making an assumption it was about heat issue

Heating issues were first reported from 12/5/18 with a service request for cold temps in offices

(date range for open record was 12/1 – 12/11/18)

Problems on 12/7  and 12/8 with most notable on 12/8 from 3rd shift guard that there was “no heat”  on B side; (12/8 and 12/9/18 were a weekend)

Nothing on heat issues till 12/11/18 with our emails and phone calls  (12/22/18 was a Tuesday)

Email from T.Cook to S. Novak  12/11/18 237 pm regarding weekend issues about heat.  One issue referred to a housing unit (B Side?) where inmates reported being cold.  Staff reportedly took temp and said it was 70 degrees and temps did not fall below “acceptable parameters”.

The other incident where inmates reported being cold was traced to other inmates opening windows and chilling temp of entire unit.  Again temps did not fall below “acceptable parameters” according to this email. Maintenance staff responded to these incidents.


Some indication that this action spurred a policy review:

  1. To check if  there was a policy;  seems there was not a specific one
  2. Recommendation for a more specific policy regarding acceptable parameters for ambient  temp range
  3. Covering their butts

Some action was seen and back and forth among DOC people – warden Novak, T.Cook and C.Hendricks,  after our emails started coming in and presumably some phone calls

Emails of this nature are probably forwarded to Public Relations and handled from there.

Maybe Cook saw more emails and calls coming in and requested a call with Novak to talk about what might be happening and how to respond.

Interesting to know:

When did our people get response emails from T.Cook?  I don’t remember; maybe 11/12/18? And then it was sent out to all who sent emails.

Did incarcerated person writing to us give dates for the 5 days they said it was too cold?

Say anything about other inmates opening windows?

Don’t know  what times phone calls were made, but a lot of activity seems to take place later in the day for emails.  People responding late probably send emails rather than make calls. Exploit this and accommodate day working hours by asking for an evening zap which fills inboxes for the next morning.  Drawback: Might put a bigger amount of time between when we hear of a problem and when we start complaining to DOC with emails and phone calls. Possibility of a bigger response tho?

What might be accomplished with this type of action:

  1. Alerts DOC that they are being watched with a fair amount of consistency
  2. Prompts policy reviews which hopefully help inmates;  but DOC also does this to cover their own weak spots if issues are brought in the future.
  3. We do them a favor by calling attention to deficiencies!
  4. Probably won’t bring about deep change

Started 1/18/19, finished 1/27/19