New Zealand has about 9,000 people behind bars and another 9,000 staff members manning the prisons, and the country's department of corrections was fearful yet another hot summer could fuel an increase in violence between the two groups. Its solution? A whole lot of slushie machines. The Guardian reports it's a purchase that's gotten a chilly reaction from some but is being fiercely defended but the DOC. Summer runs from December through February there, and over 2017-2018, the heat was record-breaking. Fearing a repeat the following summer, 193 machines were purchased for staff use only ahead of December 2018, at a cost of roughly $670,000.
As the Australian Associated Press puts it, the DOC thought having slushies on-hand in nine prisons could "reduce staff discomfort and tension that could lead to inmate violence." And the DOC says the machines worked, with no significant problems occurring during the steamy summer, even with staff wearing 13-pound stab-proof vests amid indoor temps that hit 85 degrees. By way of defense, one DOC official cited research showing slushie machines are "up to three times more effective" at lowering core body temps in heat compared to drinking water. (A lawsuit alleged stomach-churning conditions at a California prison.)