Partial power outage leaves prison inmates in the dark

Inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center have been left in the dark by a partial power outage, as elected officials and family members struggle to receive answers on the issue.

News 12 Staff

Feb 2, 2019, 1:36 AM

Updated 1,907 days ago

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Inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center have been left in the dark by a partial power outage, as elected officials and family members struggle to receive answers on the issue.
A small group came to show support for the prisoners and workers who are apparently dealing with rough conditions. About 1,600 inmates are housed at the facility.
A visitor tells News 12 they came to the facility on Sunday and the lights went out. They were then asked to leave. Since then, families haven't been able to visit and inmates can't use commissary services.
In a statement, prison operator MDC said, "The institution is operating on emergency power, cells have heat and hot water, there is lighting in the common areas and inmates are receiving hot meals."
The prison reportedly told Rep. Nydia Velazquez that blankets were being provided, but she said there was no way to verify that. As of Friday night, the prison is apparently operating on a generator, with common areas being lit up. However, the prison is still mostly dark.
A worker also says the water is cold.
"There's only heat in the afternoon since we've been complaining today, but for the last couple days we've been working with coats, hats, scarves," says health information tech Rhonda Barnwell.
Barnwell also says some officers have been injured as they tried to lock inmates back into cells.
Prisoners were heard banging on windows Friday night. Workers say many are using flashlights they purchased from the commissary in their cells since there is no light.
Velazquez says she was told the prison expects to have the problem resolved on Monday when a contractor comes to fix it.
A protest is planned at the detention center Saturday.


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