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Nadler, Velázquez Statement on DOJ IG Report on MDC Brooklyn

Washington, September 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Inspector General (IG) of the Justice Department issued a “Review and Inspection of Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn Facilities Issues and Related Impact on Inmates” in response to a request from House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), who were joined by colleagues from the House and Senate, to the IG on February 6, 2019.

The IG’s report details numerous problems with respect to the heating and cooling systems at MDC Brooklyn and the response of the facility’s management during a particularly cold period at the facility during a particularly cold period in late January and early February of this year. Among the conclusions, the IG found that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) failed to adequately address preexisting heating and cooling issues at MDC Brooklyn, did not effectively address heating issues during this time period, during which there were “significant flaws in the facility’s management,” did not have an alternative visitation plan for legal and social visitations, did not appropriately accommodate inmates who used CPAP machines and who needed medication refills, and did not effectively communicate with inmates, staff, defense counsel, the public, and Members of Congress about the conditions and impact on inmates during this time period.

In a joint statement, Representatives Nadler and Velázquez issued the following response:

“We thank the Inspector General for conducting the review that we requested with our colleagues, and issuing a report detailing findings and recommendations. The report concludes that there were ‘significant flaws in the facility’s management” during the time period in question earlier this year, when inmates were subject to inappropriate conditions, lack of adequate medical services, and insufficient access to counsel. These are the very conditions we observed when we visited MDC Brooklyn. We expect the Bureau of Prisons and the management of MDC to comply with the IG’s recommendations so that there is not a recurrence of this failure and that the facility is better prepared in case there unfortunately were to be any similar incident in the future. However, the bottom line is that what we observed at MDC Brooklyn was unacceptable and should not be allowed to happen again.”

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