The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. One sign made out of tape on the facility wall read "This is not ok". Another inmate said he was brought to tears in fear that no one will notice if he suffers an asthma attack.
Inmates at a federal jail in Brooklyn have suffered for days without heat or power during a wintry cold snap, according to lawyers and USA lawmakers who rallied outside the jail on Saturday demanding the problems be fixed and ill inmates moved.
In addition to heat, lawyers say the outage has knocked out power to the computers and telephones that inmates use to email their families and attorneys and to request refills of prescription medications.
"It's disgraceful and it breaks your heart when you talk to people who are frantic and scared and entirely cut off from the outside world", Patton told NBC News on Sunday. A number of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of inmates asking for redress of inhumane and life-threatening conditions.
"Lighting is down", said Patton.
While the prison's statement said that "staff are working to restore the facility to normal operations", ny governor Andrew Cuomo has asked for the Department of Justice to investigate the prison and the circumstances leading up to the power outage. "The heating problems seem to be independent".
"The reported conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center are appalling", the statement continued. "With the heat and hot water operational, and the restoration of electrical power, the facility can now begin to return to regular operations", US Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said.
The Bureau of Prisons disputed allegations that inmates didn't have access to hot water.
"We continue to work expeditiously to restore power to the facility as quickly as possible", the statement read.
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Lawyers, who were not allowed to visit their clients for a week, were also allowed into the jail Sunday.
The facility had been without heat, hot water, electricity and proper sanitation since Sunday, January 27, and most of the 1600 inmates were kept on lockdown in their cells for the majority of that time period, The New York Times reported.
However, several lawmakers who toured the jail Saturday said conditions remained unacceptable and accused jail officials of not understanding the urgency of the situation.
"These units had a panicky feeling", von Dornum wrote.
Inmates locked up in federal jail in Brooklyn banged their windows and flashed lights at street-level onlookers Friday in an apparent plea for relief from the freezing temperatures advocates say they're enduring.
Patton said his office began having problems contacting inmates during the 35-day government shutdown.
Since the outage all recreational activities and visits from lawyers and family members have been cancelled, the prison's website said.
"A federal official confirmed to me the power is back on at MDC". But we got work to do. "I can't sleep. Like people that I love are in there".
"They're just waiting for a disaster to happen", she told the New York Daily News.