Last week, while much of the country hunkered indoors during a polar vortex, inmates at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center were left without adequate heat and electricity. Now, lawyers for the imprisoned are calling the event a “humanitarian crisis” and have filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court.According to CBS News, Federal Defenders of New York alleges that the Federal Bureau of Prisons was in violation of the constitutional rights of roughly 1,600 inmates by denying them legal visits after a Jan. 27 fire caused the outage. The lawsuit also calls the response to the inhumane conditions “woefully inadequate.”Six lawyers and paralegals with local Federal Defenders offices first spoke to The New York Times about the crisis last week. On Friday the site published a story with quotes from inmates delivered through their legal representatives. Per their sources, electrical problems within the jail started last month when an electrical panel blew out. Although the panel was repaired, it caught fire last Sunday before temperatures in the Northeast plummeted to below freezing. The jail switched over to emergency power which provided dim light to the corridors, but hardly any heat to the inmates who were confined to their dark cells.By Friday, those inside were pounding on windows to get the attention of those on the outside.
I just left this jail.
It is FREEZING.
And nobody was there to fix the heat or electricity. NOBODY. No emergency crew. Nothing. 6 straight days.
Just protestors chanting “They are human beings” as the men bang on the windows in the cold.
Protests were held over the weekend. By Sunday evening, conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center had improved. Legal personnel and public officials who toured the facility confirmed that power had been restored. Based on a report from The New York Times, federal judges in Brooklyn and Manhattan were said to be calling hearings to examine complaints of deteriorating conditions at the jail.