UPDATED: 2019/02/04 2:00PM
After nearly 1,600 inmates at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center went without heat or electricity for nearly a week during a polar vortex, attorneys in New York City have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the warden of BMDC.
They are claiming that the jail kept inmates, most of which were love-level offenders awaiting trial, in inhumane and unconstitutional conditions during a week where temperatures plummeted to the single digits. The suit called the conditions in the prison a “humanitarian crises.”
Before this, public defenders claim that they had trouble even communication with their clients during the historical 35-day government shutdown. Then, on January 27th, a fire broke out in a gear switch room, causing electrical outages.
Inmates were reporting little or no heat, little or no hot water, minimal electricity, lack of access to medical services, lack of access to telephones, computers, laundry and commissary. Meanwhile, those guarding them bundled up in layers of clothing as inmates wore their standard tee shirt and light pants. Additionally, inmates reported that they smelled fumes and saw the prison officers wearing masks indoors, even though the inmates were not given masks to wear.
The power was restored to the prison at 6:30pm on Sunday, but the lawsuit is just heating up.