Demanding Justice at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center
Washington, February 7, 2019
Last week, I was mortified to read the New York Times story about the inhumane conditions inmates faced at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Inmates at the facility reported no heat, little to no hot water, no hot meals, and no lights in their cells, all while temperatures outside dropped to their coldest all winter. In response, over the weekend I joined with inmates' families, public defenders, and other NYC lawmakers to inspect the facility ourselves, speak with the warden directly, and demand immediate action by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Based on my observation, it was clear that they had been callously placing the health and safety of inmates and staff at risk with their lack of urgency to address these horrendous conditions.
Just because someone is incarcerated does not mean he or she loses their rights or deserves to be treated without dignity and respect. Fortunately, electricity was eventually restored at MDC on Sunday, and efforts are underway to fully fix the heating system. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has oversight authority over the BOP, I will continue to demand answers about how this happened and what improvements need to be made to ensure this never happens again.
For too long, Congress has turned a blind eye to the gun violence that has plagued our nation. The American people overwhelmingly support universal background checks, yet our current laws are still riddled with loopholes that make it far too easy for dangerous people to get guns. This must change.
I joined my colleagues as a lead sponsor of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which requires background checks on all firearms sales, and I am proud to inform you that the House Judiciary Committee held the first hearing in nearly a decade to discuss how we can combat the gun violence epidemic. Congress has a responsibility to preserve our nation's communities and foster a safe environment where all can thrive. We owe it to the victims of gun violence, and the American people, to do better, and I am determined to make sure commonsense legislation on this crisis is finally passed into law.
Click here to watch Rep. Nadler's opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on preventing gun violence. To learn more about the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, please click here.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held its very first hearing of the new Congress to discuss H.R. 1, the For The People Act. We are committed to ensuring Americans have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This vital legislation protects the voices of ordinary Americans in determining how our country is governed by reducing the role of money in politics, restoring ethical standards and integrity to government, and strengthening laws to protect voting rights. When at its best, our Nation has taken pride in being defined by our democratic and constitutionally-based system of government—one that strives to guarantee individual freedom and genuine representation of its citizens. Congress must return to these fundamental American ideals in leading our country forward, and I am committed to ensuring these reforms are enacted.
Some issues aren’t partisan, even in Washington. One of those is protecting our animals. I believe Congress can play an important role in ensuring animals are treated in a humane and dignified manner, which is why I am a cosponsor of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. According to national law enforcement groups, there is a close link between acts of animal abuse and violence against other humans. But there remains a gap in federal law for prosecutors to crack down on perpetrators of violence against animals. The PACT Act fills this gap by criminalizing all forms of animal cruelty. I believe all animals should be treated with compassion and respect, and you can rely on me to be a champion for stronger animal protections in Congress.
Because of the government shutdown, I was unable to attend my regularly scheduled forum with the Goddard Riverside community on the Upper West Side. Fortunately, I was able to videoconference in to speak with constituents about the work ahead of us in Washington, including protecting the integrity of the census, restoring state and local tax (SALT) deductions for New Yorkers, and conducting meaningful oversight of the Administration. I look forward to being back in New York’s 10th District during our next District work period, and stay tuned for updates on future forums.
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