Brooklyn inmates in jail without power faced 'humanitarian crisis,' lawsuit alleges

Inmates in Brooklyn federal jail go without heat hot food accused NXIVM cult leader among them

Brooklyn detainees bang on prison windows for help during cold weather blackout (VIDEO)

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.

And it said prison officials were largely unresponsive when lawyers sought information about "troubling reports" by inmates.

"I am frustrated. This is America".

"With the heat and hot water operational, and the restoration of electrical power, the facility can now begin to return to regular operations", he said.

Nydia Velazquez, who represents parts of New York City in the U.S. House of Representatives, was one of the lawmakers who visited the jail on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for Herman Quay, the jail's warden, told the Times in an email that the building experienced a partial power outage on Saturday, but she denied that it had affected heat and hot water in the jail's housing units. The bureau said Sunday in a statement that a new electrical panel had been installed the day before.

He said the government has the responsibility to serve all its citizens while the Bureau of Prisons has to live up to that responsibility.

"It is very apparent that there is a massive failure of caring here, a massive failure of proper supervision, a massive failure of planning", Rep. Jerrold Nadler said after touring several floors on Sunday. "The heat is sporadic and it's uneven", she said.

"Prisoners in NY are human beings". Things came to a head after a fire broke out last weekend.

Over 1,600 inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn have been without heat and hot water, and with limited electricity and communications for a week.

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

NY was recently hit with a wave of cold weather that affected power and electricity in certain areas. We speak with Brad Lander, a NY city councilmember who spoke with prisoners and prison officials this weekend. "They just stay huddled up in the bed", June Bencebi, case manager at the jail, told the Times.

The mayor later tweeted pictures from a loading dock at the facility, saying that generators were also delivered for the prisoners.

"My understanding is they're fully locked down in their dark cells", said Dierdre von Dornum, the lead federal defender in Brooklyn. The Bureau of Prisons' page for the center notes at the top that "a$3 ll visiting at this facility is suspended until further notice". "My office is in touch with legal service providers and inmates' attorneys, and closely monitoring this deeply disturbing situation". "No one in NY should live in fear that they may freeze to death alone in the dark", he said.

"We need answers, and we're going to do our damnedest to get to the bottom of what happened", said Sen. Guards and other jail employees have been compelled to work clothed in winter coats, hats, and scarves.

Prior to her arrival, pepper spray was used on several people, including journalists and media personality Yandy Smith. However, she added, the prison was "still cold & dark" and "we weren't allowed to speak with inmates, unclear if blankets are being distributed". "No one in NY should live in fear that they may freeze to death alone in the dark".

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