'Freezing' NYC inmates without heat for a week during -17C cold snap

'Freezing' NYC inmates without heat for a week during -17C cold snap

'Freezing' NYC inmates without heat for a week during -17C cold snap

Another inmate said he was brought to tears in fear that no one will notice if he suffers an asthma attack.

The lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court by the Federal Defenders of NY cited numerous disruptions caused by the outage that resulted from a January 27 fire at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

Located in the neighborhood of Sunset Park, the jail encountered problems after a fire broke out in a gear switch room on January 27, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Now, inmates have taken matters in their own hands to reveal the conditions they are facing as a result of the weather.

Officials at the jail and the Bureau of Prisons had said in emails this week to the New York Times, which first reported the problems on Friday, that the cells still had heat and hot water. "They just stay huddled up in the bed", June Bencebi, case manager at the jail, told the Times. Patton said he was unable to go into detail about the suit until after it is filed. "The heating problems seem to be independent".

A reporter and photographer for The Associated Press were at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn when a woman whose son is being detained tried to get into the jail.

She found the facility to be "very cold", according to the lawsuit, learned some inmates received only cold food for days after the fire, and observed guards in warm clothing while many inmates were in short-sleeve shirts and light cotton trousers.

However, the attorneys who visited the jail described a different scene.

For nearly a week, many of those inside the jail, which houses more than 1,600 inmates, had no heat, no hot meals, no hot water for showers and no light in their cells, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the conditions.

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Velazquez disagreed. She said lawmakers measured the temperature as low as 49 degrees in some cells. Some inmates are running low on necessary medications.

"These units had a panicky feeling", von Dornum wrote.

The prisoners, some of whom are awaiting trial or sentencing on federal crimes, are "very, very angry and complaining", Democrat congresswoman Nydia Velazquez said. By then, the electricians contracted to restore power had already left for the day, and Bureau of Prisons Warden Herman Quay did not expect them to return all weekend, according to Nadler. And it said jail officials were largely unresponsive when lawyers sought information about "troubling reports" by inmates. It said prisoners still had access to public defender phones and medical care.

"They feel like they're trapped in intolerable conditions and have no idea if anyone out there knows about it", Patton said on Sunday.

The protesters have included family members who said they haven't been able to visit inmates in days, as well as activists and elected officials.

"I want my children to understand that we can absolutely teach about the injustices, but to really be change agents against these injustices you have to get out there and move with the people", Smith said.

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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