Justice Department to probe Brooklyn jail that lost power during deep freeze

GettyImages-1126316313

GettyImages-1126316313

"I am frustrated. This is America". The agency said that the facility's boiler was not affected by the power failure and remained functional, and that inmates had hot water for showers and in the sinks in their cells.

Nydia Velazquez, who represents parts of New York City in the U.S. House of Representatives, was one of the lawmakers who visited the jail on Saturday.

According to the Associated Press, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said power and heat would be fully restored on Monday.

The Bureau of Prisons says work to fix the situation is expected to be completed by Monday.

"It is very apparent that there is a massive failure of caring here, a massive failure of proper supervision, a massive failure of planning", Rep. Jerrold Nadler said after touring several floors on Sunday.

In notes taken during a tour of the jail and shared with NBC News, Deirdre von Dornum, the attorney-in-charge of the Federal Defenders for the Eastern District of NY, described water leaking into inmates' beds from cracks in the ceiling, pitch black cells, and tepid water in the showers.

Videos surfaced Friday showing inmates at the federal detention center flashing reading lights and banging on the cells' walls and windows, which line the perimeter of the facility.

When the sun goes down, one inmate can't read the labels on his heart medication, he said. New York Assemblywoman Joanne Simon reported that, although prison officials had accepted the blankets from the city the night before, they had not distributed them to inmates.

The prison confirmed the news in a statement late Sunday night, with ny mayor Bill de Blasio tweeting that a federal official had also shared the news with him. People on the ground would clap in response to sound patterns, and they would repeat back in forth, inmates responding percussively to their families down on the street.

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The mayor later tweeted pictures from a loading dock at the facility, saying that generators were also delivered for the prisoners.

"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.

Police and the Bureau of Prisons say no devices were found and no credible threat was identified. "My office is in touch with legal service providers and inmates' attorneys, and closely monitoring this deeply disturbing situation".

"They're not allowing attorneys to come in, they're not allowing anybody to come in", she said.

"We need answers, and we're going to do our damnedest to get to the bottom of what happened", said Sen. "They've basically been incommunicado from their attorneys since the 27th, which is when the electrical fire happened".

Officials with the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents corrections officers at the jail, confirmed the lawyers' accounts of the jail conditions in interviews with the Times.

Pedreira previously said federal prison officers are working while wearing hats, coats and scarves. Lawyer visits had also been significantly curtailed during the recent 35-day partial government shutdown, inmate advocates say. "There is light in the hallways but it's not enough", she added. "No one in NY should live in fear that they may freeze to death alone in the dark".

A group at the rally vowed to camp outside the facility until conditions improve.

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