New York City, N.Y., Feb 4, 2019 / 13:48 pm
Power and heat were restored Sunday to a federal detention center that had been without electricity and mostly unheated for a full week.
The Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, had until Feb. 3 only backup power after a Jan. 27 electrical fire disrupted power in the building. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Feb. 3 that power and heat had been fully restored to the building by Sunday evening.
More than 1,600 inmates are incarcerated at the facility; most of them are awaiting federal trials and have not yet been convicted of crimes.
During the week-long ordeal many inmates had no heat, hot meals, or lights in their cells, according to the New York Times. Some were also reportedly without hot water.
The federal Bureau of Prisons denied that heat and hot water had been affected in housing blocks, the New York Times reported on Feb. 1, though accounts from prisoners, visitors to the prison, and staffers said that cells were unheated.
The inmates were on partial lockdown for several days.
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), who toured the facility, described conditions in the unheated cells as a “nightmare,” akin to “living in a closet without lights.”
Winter temperatures in New York plunged last week to as low as 2 degrees Fahrenheit; New York City officials sent blankets and hand warmers to the facility on Feb. 2. Aid groups sent socks, sweatshirts, and extra blankets.