Television

Here’s John Oliver With a Fun Summer Update: We’re Cooking People to Death in Un-Air-Conditioned Prisons!

John Oliver sits at a glass anchorperson's desk, in front of an image that is labeled "Prison Heat."
Summer fun! HBO

If it’s Sunday, it’s time for a mind-bogglingly infuriating report from Last Week Tonight about something our country is fucking up. This week, John Oliver was in a particularly sadistic mood, promising the audience some summer fun, going so far as to begin a delightful report on popsicles, a traditional source of summer fun, then abruptly switching topics to un-air-conditioned prisons, which are not a traditional source of summer fun. In fact, as Oliver explains, they’re a traditional source of serious harm to inmates, up to and including their deaths:

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

There is one part of Oliver’s segment that qualifies as summer fun, or at least summer “not quite as terrible as you might expect from Last Week Tonight generally,” and that is the fact that for once, Oliver is talking about a problem that could easily be solved:

Advertisement

There’s actually an easy solution to this one problem, and that is: Prisons need air-conditioning, so put air-conditioning in. That’s it! I know this show has trained you to anticipate nuance, but this one is actually pretty straightforward. We shouldn’t be cooking prisoners to death, the end. That’s just not something we should be allowing under any circumstances.

Since we know exactly what we have to do to fix this particular problem forever, we’re sitting pretty. All that’s left is to convince people like Texas State Senator John Whitmire and others like him (not including the warden from that deposition video, who died in 2019) that they should care about the health and well-being of other people, at least a little bit, even if it’s just for show. That ought to be pretty simple, right?

Advertisement