Brooklyn detainees bang on prison windows for help during cold weather blackout

Inmates in Brooklyn federal jail go without heat hot food accused NXIVM cult leader among them

"Disturbing reports have surfaced that the federal government left more than a thousand prisoners without heat, hot water or electricity during subzero temperatures at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Let's treat them that way", Cuomo said. Protesters gathered outside after news reports that inmates had largely been without heat or power for a week.

The bureau said in a statement Saturday that a new electrical panel is being installed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after a "partial power outage" due to a fire in the switch gear room.

"The people inside have a right to dignity and safety and we won't stand by while the Federal Bureau of Prisons fails them", the mayor said.

Some tried to force their way into the entrance of the prison but were pushed back by guards using pepper spray.

Nydia Velazquez, who represents parts of New York City in the US House of Representatives, was one of the politicians who visited the jail on Saturday. "There is light in the hallways but it's not enough", she added.

"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 union.

The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the current conditions at the jail.

When Patton toured the prison on Saturday, he said he saw thermometers in several inmates cells showed the temperature ranged between 50 degrees and 69 degrees, with temperatures varying depending on location and proximity to the windows.

Rhonda Barnwell, who works in the jail's medical station, told the News the facility had no electricity and was on a generator.

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"It's only heat in the afternoon since we been complaining today, but for the last couple of days we been working with coats, hats, scarves", said employee Rhonda Barnwell. "It's been very risky".

On Sunday night, power and some heat was finally restored to the jail, but attorneys and family members are still struggling to see clients and relatives.

Andrew Cuomo (D) on Sunday called for a Justice Department investigation into the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where frigid conditions reportedly have left inmates begging for help.

Nadler said the warden had thought power would be restored by noon on Monday.

A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday in the case of another inmate, Jose Segura-Genao, after his lawyer Ezra Spilke asked a judge in Manhattan federal court for a conference to address "inhumane conditions" at the jail.

He said inmates are able to call their public defenders and attorneys, but have not been able to contact family members.

"I need to find out what's going on with my clients", lawyer Ezra Spilke said Friday. "They've basically been incommunicado from their attorneys since the 27th, which is when the electrical fire happened". The temperature in the city hit a low of 2 degrees (-16 Celsius) on January 31.

Those with connections to inmates described deteriorating conditions in the jail, with inmates stuck inside dark, freezing cells, getting sick and "frantic", according to The Times.

After Mayor De Blasio announced hand warmers and blankets would be provided, inmates have reported they have yet to receive them.

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