February 2, 2019

That sound in the video? Inmates banging on the windows with flashlights to protest the lack of heat and electricity.

I predict the Trump administration will take a sudden interest in prison conditions as soon as Don Jr. and Jared are indicted. Via the New York Times:

More than a thousand inmates have been stuck in freezing cells at a federal jail on the Brooklyn waterfront that has had limited power and heat for at least this week, according to federal public defenders and leaders of the union representing the jail’s corrections officers.

“They just stay huddled up in the bed,” said June Bencebi, a case manager at the jail and the treasurer of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 500 corrections officers at the jail.

The jail, the Metropolitan Detention Center, houses more than 1,600 inmates and lies in an industrial swath near the waterfront in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Some inmates are linked to high-profile drug trafficking and terrorism cases, while others are comparatively anonymous New Yorkers awaiting trial.

The Times spoke to public defenders who spoke to approximately three dozen inmates, two union leaders, and an employee who wouldn't speak publicly.

How cold is it on the East Coast? My heat's turned up to 80 and I'm still freezing. I can't believe the kind of incompetence and neglect that makes a detention center so poorly run that it can't provide heat in the winter.

The Bureau of Prisons blamed it on power outages. A spokesman for Con Edison said there were no problems in New York during the cold spell. “It’s an internal problem, and their electricians will have to fix it," he said. “End of story.”

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