James Ingram died of hyperthermia on June 26, 2010, while imprisoned as an inmate of Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois. Cavanagh Law Group represented the family of James Ingram in a Section 1983 lawsuit in Federal District Court in the Southern District of Illinois.
Ingram's Housing Conditions: hyperthermia in hot weather
Ingram was housed in a solid, closed-door cell made of three concrete walls and one metal door, measuring approximately six by nine feet. It had two permanently-closed windows; a food slot (also called a "chuckhole"), which generally remained closed and padlocked; and a metal panel at the bottom of the door with small holes for ventilation. This ventilation panel was the only place where air could enter the cell. There was also one, four inch vent inside the closed-door cell which allowed air to move into a tunnel behind the cell.
In June of 2010, there was no air conditioning in the building where Ingram resided. The staff knew that high temperatures could present a danger to inmates. Several defendants acknowledged that the summer weather in southern Illinois is often hot, that the temperature can be hot inside the cell house, hotter inside the cell house than outside, and hotter still in the closed-door cells than in the rest of the cell house. The warden, Defendant Rednour, testified that, "To the best of my knowledge, every employee at Menard is aware that high temperatures can present a danger in the cell houses if no further action is taken."