A report from the NJ Department of Corrections ombudsman was released this week bemoaning the fact that many prisoners don’t reside in the comfort of air conditioning.

First you may wonder, what is this ombudsman office?

From nj.gov…

“The Office of the Corrections Ombudsperson acts as an independent set of eyes and ears for the public, opening up the otherwise closed world of prisons. The Office works to identify and address problems at the individual and system levels to ensure that people housed in New Jersey’s prisons:

  • Are safe,

  • Have their medical and mental health needs addressed,

  • Have reasonable access to their loved ones, and

  • Are engaged in productive activities to prepare them to return to the community.”

Huh. Isn’t that sweet. Is the government doing that much for all the prisoners’ victims?

So this laughable complaint regarding the lack of air conditioning comes with plenty of stats. East Jersey State Prison on the border of Rahway and Avenel has 87% of its prison beds without air conditioning. Garden State Correctional Facility has 74% of its population without air conditioning. And so on.

I’d be delighted if we could get these figures to 100%. Prisoners don’t deserve air conditioning. Does that even need to be pointed out?

It would cost tens of millions of dollars and an enormous undertaking to retrofit these older buildings. We taxpayers are already coughing up $54,020 per year per state prisoner to house them. There is absolutely no majority public appetite for spending more.

Empty prison cell
Darrin Klimek

Especially when we have innocent little kids who have done no wrong to anyone sit in sweltering classrooms in June and September. Even if we did have the money to retrofit air-conditioned comfort into old buildings common decency says give it to the schools, not the prisons.

Corrections officers of course we feel bad for. But we’d have to assume not every moment of their long shifts are spent in the un-air-conditioned portions of the facilities.

Callers Wednesday to our show decried any effort to install air conditioning in Jersey’s prisons, and many pointed out they go through all the hot months working hard for an honest living in sweltering conditions. Cooks in broiling kitchens. Crews working with asphalt. HVAC jobs in stiflingly hot attics. Welders. You name it.

If you’re going to suggest taking even a penny more out of their paychecks to give air conditioning to prisoners you’ve got some morally bankrupt priorities.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite afternoon radio show any day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

The 10 Most Stolen Vehicles In New Jersey

Census 2020: The 20 biggest places in New Jersey

A countdown of the 20 most populous municipalities in New Jersey, as measured by the 2020 Census.

NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts

Over the past few years, state lawmakers have taken on the challenge of dealing with accused child predators among the ranks of teachers and educators.

In 2018, the so-called “pass the trash” law went into effect, requiring stricter New Jersey school background checks related to child abuse and sexual misconduct.

The follow individuals were arrested over the past several years. Some have been convicted and sentenced to prison, while others have accepted plea deals for probation.

Others cases are still pending, including some court delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM