"Heat is a minimum standard, that is a minimum requirement for anyone that is in a correctional facility", one demonstrator said.
Prisoners call out to protesters and family members gathers outside the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal prison where prisoners have been without heat, hot water, electricity and proper sanitation due to an electrical failure since earlier in the week, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in the Brooklyn borough of NY. As a result, inmates inside have become panic-stricken as they wait for the heat and electricity amid dangerously cold weather, according to reports from lawyers and lawmakers.
NY rapper Nicki Minaj is keeping busy with her multiple ventures but a federal jail in her hometown is under fire for not having functioning heat over the past few days. "We've told the Federal Bureau of Prisons the supplies are coming - whether they like it or not".
Patton said he and his colleagues will file a lawsuit on Monday spelling out the "unconstitutional conditions" the inmates have been kept in over the past week.
It had been a trying situation for more than a day, Patton said.
Officials say power was restored Sunday around 6:30 p.m.at the detention center in Brooklyn and staff was working to restore the facility to normal operations. "The heating problems seem to be independent". "The reported conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center are appalling".
"With the heat and hot water operational, and the restoration of electrical power, the facility can now begin to return to regular operations", he said. The agency insisted that inmates had hot water for showers and sinks, and were getting medications as needed.
The trouble began on January 27 when an electrical panel caught fire at the prison, cutting off power to part of the facility.More news: Chinese New Year celebrations usher in Year of the Pig
Lawyers for several inmates at the jail have filed motions asking the courts to intervene, citing health risks to clients.
Many inmates spent the weekend sitting in frigid, dark cells because of the partial power outage, according to Director of Federal Defenders of New York David Patton and a representative for the union representing the facility's workers.
"They're just waiting for a disaster to happen", she said.
Lawyers for some of the Brooklyn inmates complained that they have not been able to speak to their clients.
On Sunday, the Department of Justice said it would work with the Bureau of Prisons to prevent future issues.
He said inmates are able to call their public defenders and attorneys, but have not been able to contact family members.
She also encountered inmates who reported untreated serious medical conditions and said they had not received clean clothing or bedding since the fire, forcing one inmate to sleep on bloody bedding, the lawsuit said.
And it said prison officials were largely unresponsive when lawyers sought information about "troubling reports" by inmates. But we got work to do.
"I want my children to understand that we can absolutely teach about the injustices, but to really be change agents against these injustices you have to get out there and move with the people", Smith said.