Reps. Nadler, Velazquez Announce DOJ IG Examination of MDC BK Following Heat, Power Outage

Feb 13, 2019 Issues: New York and Our Neighborhoods

Washington, D.C. –This week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) received a letter from the Department of Justice confirming that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has begun an examination of the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn following heat and power outages earlier this month. In their letter, the OIG confirmed that they will assess how the conditions at the MDC occurred, how it affected prisoners' well-being, and whether officials at the officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons took proper steps to resolve the heat and power issues. 

Reps. Nadler and Velazquez released the following statement in response: 

"We are pleased that the Michael Horowitz, Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Justice, yesterday responded to our letter of February 6, joined by twenty-seven of our colleagues, stating that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) will investigate the recent crisis at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn.  In our letter, we expressed our grave concerns about the lack of heating and related unacceptable conditions at this facility.  Inmates suffered from the cold, were placed in extended and unnecessary lockdowns, prevented from receiving proper medical treatment, and denied access to counsel.  These are conditions we witnessed in multiple recent visits to MDC.  We did so because we learned of the plight of the inmates from media reports, our constituents, and counsel seeking access to their clients and asking the courts for emergency action.  Prisoners could be heard banging on their cells in pleas for someone to do something.  It should never have come to this. 

"Now, we hope that the OIG will get to the bottom of this terrible situation, not just to determine what happened in the past but how we can address longstanding issues at MDC and avoid anything like this from happening in the future.  We wait with great interest for the findings of the OIG but, in the meantime, we will continue to ask questions directly of the Bureau of Prisons and the managers of MDC.  This can never happen again."

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