On 20 June 2014 from 7pm to 9:30pm, 65-year-old Juan Nave pleaded with CO Justin Jernigan for cold water, for medical staff, and to be let out his cell to get some cool air from the dayroom fans because he didn't have a fan in his cell and it was about 100 degrees in our cells. My cell is nearby so I listened as Mr. Nave told to the unconcerned Officer Jernigan he was really ill and needed medical attention. I also attempted to request water and to be let out of my dangerously heated cell for a little cool down time, and CO Jernigan said, "I'm hot too, handle it like me," and he walked away with no consideration for our health or life. Around 9:30pm was the last time I heard Mr. Nave beg Officer Jernigan for help only to be ignored again. At 10pm Jernigan went home and CO Brake took his place. It wasn't until CO Brake was doing a bed count around 1:30am that he discovered Juan Nave was dead.
Both Wardens, the Major and Captain were there within 30 minutes. They called their own medical examiner to rule the death a heart attack, but I knew it was heat that caused Mr. Nave's death. I asked the shift supervisor Lt. Ruth if they were going to get statements from us witnessing prisoners. Lt. Ruth said they would a little later, but no one questioned me or other witnessing prisoners. I filed a grievance but it was denied per grievance policy, "no inmate can file complaint for or about another inmate." About 3 to 4 days after Mr. Nave's death, CO Jernigan worked on the same wing, with a very arrogant and flamboyant attitude. When I mentioned Mr. Nave's death to Jernigan he said, "it was not my fault, he had a heart attack," and walked away.
This time I filed my grievance against Jernigan failing to let me have water and call a supervisor when I informed him I was overheated. That upset Jernigan, and he retaliated by ransacking my cell, taking things he had to give back. I filed another complaint mentioning CO Jernigan killing Mr. Nave and trying to kill me in retaliation for me filing these grievance complaints. A few weeks later Sgt. Thomas informed me Justin Jernigan was removed from the unit work schedule. But that won't bring Juan Nave back to life or relieve his suffering the day of his death. This is why I need all the firepower I can get with all the grievance support that's available.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This fight against the dangerous heat in Texas prisons is literally a battle of life and death, as demonstrated by this article and others we have received from across the state. This is a good opportunity to push the Texas grievance campaign and demand grievances be heard. The rule that a grievance can be denied because a dead prisoner is unable to file his/her own grievance is just one more ludicrous reason used by TDCJ to reject our valid complaints against mistreatment. Write to us to request a copy of the Texas grievance guide.