Powerful Photos of This Weekend's Protests at Brooklyn's Freezing Metropolitan Detention Center

07 February, 2019, 08:09 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Weeklong power outage at New York federal jail leaves inmates without heat or light in the cold

"Heat is a minimum standard, that is a minimum requirement for anyone that is in a correctional facility", one demonstrator said.

It's been over a week since inmates at the MDC Brooklyn Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY has complained of inhumane living conditions including no heat, food, medicine, or working toilets.

Smith's Instagram stories showed her and other protesters demanding to be let inside the detention center and asking why the power was out.

According to a spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons, the jail is now on a partial lockdown after an electrical fire tore through the switch gear room last Sunday. Now, inmates have taken matters in their own hands to reveal the conditions they are facing as a result of the weather. The New York Post reports a new electrical panel was being installed, but there is no confirmation when it would be completed.

The power failure caused "inhumane" conditions for inmates, and the response was "woefully inadequate" as authorities were slow to acknowledge the problem and failed to take adequate steps to obtain temporary supplies of electricity or heat and to fix damage, the lawsuit said. "The heating problems seem to be independent".

I am outside of the Metropolitan Detention Center where prisoners are without heat.

The Bureau of Prisons disputed allegations that inmates didn't have access to hot water.

City and state officials had been visiting the facility and talking to inmates, making it clear there's a bigger issue that goes beyond the lock down.

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Lawyers, who were not allowed to visit their clients for a week, were also allowed into the jail Sunday.

Protesters have been outside the facility in recent days following news reports that those housed there have been largely without heat or power for the past week and also haven't been able to communicate with lawyers or loved ones. Jamaal Bailey, who toured the facility Sunday and said there was no heat on the fourth floor. Some inmates are running low on necessary medications.

Deirdre von Dornum, attorney-in-chief of the federal defenders office, said she found the facility to be "very cold" when she toured Friday, contradicting Quay's upbeat report about the conditions for inmates.

On Sunday, the Department of Justice said it would work with the Bureau of Prisons to prevent future issues.

The nonprofit Legal Aid Society said it had written to the MDC warden on January 22, demanding that a lack of heat at the jail be addressed amid forecast temperatures that were "dangerous to human life".

Inmates' only access to the outside world has been a dedicated phone link to the Federal Defenders, several lawyers said, so inmates who are represented by other attorneys have been unable to contact them. The men in the video noted that this is day seven of the conditions they've been in.

Nadler said the warden had thought power would be restored by noon on Monday. But we got work to do. "Thank you to the families, activists and officials who fought for the dignity of people inside", de Blasio wrote.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement, "It is shocking that the government would hold people for days on end in a dark, freezing jail during one of the coldest weeks in memory".

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