What is an Engineered Cold Cell?
Cold Cell 1613 in Charleston, South Carolina
An engineered cold cell, also called an "intensive management cell," is a holding cell that has special venting that catches and blows frigid cold air coming from the air handling unit of an air conditioning system. Instead of standard air conditioning vents, a cold cell has steel grates more than twice the size of a standard vent. This turns over the air in the cold cell in a rapid time. The temperature of the blowing air is 40 to 50 degrees F.
These cold cells are traditionally found near or in the booking areas of metropolitan jails. Inmates that do not otherwise cooperate are placed in these cells until the cool off and shiver and begged to be let out.
Sheriff Al Cannon has an engineered cold cell in the booking area of the Sheriff Cannon Detention Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Cold Cell 1613 is pictured above.
During the February 2010 deposition1 of the mug shot lady of the Sheriff Cannon jail, Tomincina Dyer, gave the following testimony as to when an inmate would be locked in cold cell 1613.
Dyer: "We put them into holding cells if they come in acting up. I mean, any
of the officers, non-civilian people can put someone in a hold cell."
Bardes: Okay. When you said acting up you put them in a holding cell..
Dyer: Yes, until they calm down.
Bardes: And how long if somebody is being put in there because they are acting
up, how long would you normally keep them in there until they calmed down I guess is the..
Dyer: There's no certain time.
Bardes: A couple of minutes, an hour, two hours?
Dyer: There's no certain time as in..it depends on what they did. I mean, if
the supervisor says, okay let him out, let him out. If they just stop acting
up we just let them out. There is no certain time. Like there are no rules
that say we have to leave them in for 30 minutes or an hour, nothing like
Bardes: Right. The blanket on the bench, why do you think a guard
would place a blanket in the bench in cell 1613?
Dyer: ...We're not supposed to give out blankets anyway.
Some guard put the blanket on the bench because they were being kind.
Cold Cell 107 in White County, Tennessee
Sheriff Cannon is not alone in having an engineered cold cell, the sheriff of White County, Tennessee, has a hypothermic cold cell in the booking area of his jail. That cold cell is titled,
In 2004 Warden Wilson dragged inmate Joshua Roberson to the booking area, stripped him to his boxers, wrapped him in a straight jacket, and locked him inside cold cell 107 for three weeks.
Warden Wilson is serving a 20 year prison sentence for the effort. He lost his appeal, United States v. Wilson2 (No. 07-5825, US COA 6th Circuit), and the following testimony is lifted from the appeal.
Page 5, line 4,
According to the corrections officers, the concrete floors and vent caused cell 107 to become cold.
Page 2, line 18,
Wilson ordered Officer Weldon and several other corrections officers to bring Roberson to the intake area of the Jail, place him in a straightjacket, and lock him in one of the intensive management or
Page 3, line 14,
While at the hospital, Wilson told Officer Farrell to relay orders to the other corrections officers that Roberson be kept in cell 107 in his boxer shorts and a straightjacket
23 hours a day until Wilson said differently.
Corrections officers testified that, as a result of his conditions of confinement,
[Roberson] was just sort of limp and that he
didn't have much life at all. (Tr. Vol. II at 116.) Roberson also
became pale and thin,
withdrawn (Tr. Vol. V at 105), and appeared
dazed (Tr. Vol. V-B at 66) while confined in cell 107.
Cold Cell in Columbia, South Carolina Jail
The Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, South Carolina, the city of Columbia, South Carolina's jail, is home to a hypothermic "cold cell," that killed inmate Bobby Ray Mott in 2003.
This February 2003 article3 appeared in The Go Up State, that read:
A mentally ill Richland County, S.C., jail inmate found in his cell with profound hypothermia was given adequate care during his incarceration and no one did anything wrong, county officials said last week.
But Assistant County Administrator Milton Pope, breaking a three-day silence, couldn't explain how Bobby Ray Mott became hypothermic. 'That's a medical issue,' he said.
But county Coroner Gary Watts told Mott's daughter, Bobbie Mott Coward, he can't explain how her father became hypothermic.
This is a case of crime hiding in plain sight. Bobbie Mott was killed in a hypothermic cold cell. Hypothermia starts with shivering and if not arrested, will result in a slow, usually takes nine hours, and highly painful death.
Was given adequate care, no one did anything wrong? - this is standard fare on these hypothermic deaths. The general public has no understanding that the word hypothermia means "cold" more of less that it is the most painful death a human can endure, specifically because the death takes hours to effect. It is a tortuous death.
The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F, and if you become too cold, your body temperature will reduce. At 95 degrees F one is declared hypothermic and deaths begin to occur. Temperatures of 85-80 degrees F range leads to hypothermic coma from which only 1% survive.
The air temperature in the cold cell that killed Bobbie Mott, was not only cold, but continually pumped super-chilled cold air for many hours, enough so to reduce his body temperature to 79 degrees. Bobbie Mott was murdered with the air conditioner. And no one did anything wrong?
2/11/2010 Deposition of Thomasina T. Dyer, a guard at the Sheriff Cannon Detention Center, (internal link: docs/DyerDepostion.pdf)
PACER: United States v. Wilson (No. 07-5825, US COA 6th Circuit) (internal link: docs/wilson_decision_hypo.pdf)
Article by 'The Go Up State', Published: 02/27/2003,
S.C. County Clears Jail in Death of Inmate, (external link: http://www.goupstate.com/news/20030227/county-clears-jail-in-inmates-death) (Another link to article: http://www.corrections.com/news/article/11449)
PAGE LAST UPDATE: 3/11/23, 4:12pm ET, by dab
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