State Watch

Power restored at Brooklyn detention center after days without heat, lighting


Power was restored at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sunday after days of inmates living without heat and lighting.

The Bureau of Prisons told CNN in a statement that “staff are working to restore the facility to normal operations.”

More than 1,600 inmates live in the center that went without heat during a frigid week in New York where temperatures dropped as low as two degrees.

{mosads}Director of Federal Defenders of New York David Patton and a union leader told CNN that many of those inmates were stuck in dark, cold cells all weekend.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called for the Justice Department to investigate reports of power loss at the center earlier Sunday.

“Prisoners are human beings. Let’s treat them that way,” Cuomo wrote on his Twitter.

“I’m calling on the @TheJusticeDept to immediately investigate the circumstances at the #MDC in Brooklyn. New York stands ready to provide any support necessary to keep the heat, hot water and electricity running.”  

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Emergency Management delivered generators, blankets and hand warmers to the center on Saturday.

New York Attorney General Letitia A. James also criticized the situation.

“It is unacceptable, illegal, and inhumane to detain people without basic amenities, access to counsel, or medical care,” she said in a statement.

“The reported conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center are appalling. Prisoners and detainees have rights and those rights must be enforced. My office is in touch with legal service providers and inmates’ attorneys, and closely monitoring this deeply disturbing situation.”

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