Parts of the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW) in Shelby County have been without power since Thursday, leaving all but two of the prison’s housing units without air conditioning.
Department of Corrections spokesperson Lisa Lamb says the outage is due to a main switch gear failure.
“We are working diligently to repair the system but due to its age and the availability of parts, the ETA on full repair is several days,” Lamb said, in an email to WFPL.
Generators are keeping the lights on at the facility, and visitation has been suspended until the power is restored.
This comes after a week of extreme heat in Kentucky, with heat advisories in effect most of the week, and temperatures up to 96 degrees on Thursday, when the outage began.
Bart Bomback’s wife is incarcerated at the KCIW.
“I’m worried about her health in general,” said Bomback, “I know heat-related illness is a serious issue.”
While waiting for repairs, inmates have been allowed to wear t-shirts and shorts rather than their standard uniforms.
Lamb said they have industrial fans running on emergency power, and have given “extra ice and bottled water” to the women incarcerated there.
Sam Crankshaw, a spokesperson with the ACLU of KY, said more urgent action is needed. “If the state chooses to incarcerate a person, they take on the responsibility of taking care of that person,” he said. “It’s ridiculous that they would put these incarcerated people in this position while the hospitals are overwhelmed.”