Federal jail in New York hasn’t had heat for several days: report
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A federal jail in Brooklyn has reportedly been without heat since Saturday due to a power outage, leaving more than a thousand inmates to suffer through the cold.

The New York Times reports that several federal public defenders and leaders of the union representing the jail’s corrections officers told the publication of the jail’s current conditions.

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The Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, houses more than 1,600 inmates. Sources told the times the inmates had been stuck in freezing cells for days now.

“They just stay huddled up in the bed,” June Bencebi, case manager at the jail, told the Times.

A spokesperson for the jail’s warden Herman Quay refuted accounts of the conditions.

In an email to the Times, the spokesperson said the building did experience a partial power outage on Saturday but denied that it caused the jail to go without heat or hot water.

“All housing units have functional lighting,” the spokesperson said. “Heat and hot water has not been impacted. Likewise, inmate meals are not impacted; inmates are receiving regularly scheduled hot meals each day.”

The Hill has reached out to the warden’s office to request comment on the reports.

The absence of heat at the jail has reportedly caused an increase in sick cases.

“In the past hour I have gotten 11 calls,” Rachel Brass, a paralegal at the Brooklyn office of Federal Defenders, told the Times. “People are frantic. They’re really, really scared. They don’t have extra blankets. They don’t have access to the commissary to buy an extra sweatshirt.”

Temperatures in New York City have reportedly been as low as 2 degrees this week.

She added that inmates were mostly reporting instances of sore throats and congestion.

Anthony Sanon, the president of the local chapter of the union representing the jail’s corrections officers, said the jail first lost power on Jan. 5 but the jail did not lose heat until last week.

“We didn’t have heat in the building, we didn’t have light,” Sanon said. “The weather was actually unbearable.”

He said the jail switched to emergency power, which lit the hallways and corridors, but added that “the heat isn’t coming out properly.”

Additionally, visits from lawyers and family have been cancelled since Sunday.

Sanon said he toured the jail with the warden last week and was assured the heat was being monitored, but told the Times he got a call Thursday morning and was told “it was freezing.”