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2 Feb, 2019 17:25

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

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

Shocking footage filmed outside a federal prison in Brooklyn, New York, shows inmates apparently banging on the walls and windows of their cells to draw attention to their freezing conditions.

The Metropolitan Detention Center, which holds pre-trial detainees, has been without any heat or hot water since January 21, and a small electrical fire on January 27 means inmates and workers are now without any lighting.

Legal and family visits have been cancelled until further notice, and inmates are on lockdown for their own safety and that of staff.

Temperatures below freezing in New York this week prompted inmates to call federal defender offices about the appalling conditions.

In the past hour, I have gotten 11 calls,” paralegal Rachel Bass of Federal Defenders in Brooklyn told the New York Times. “People are frantic. They’re really, really scared. They don’t have extra blankets. They don’t have access to the commissary to buy an extra sweatshirt.”

New York City councilman Justin Brannan posted the footage on Friday as he stood outside the center which houses more than 1,600 people. Brannan called the “surreal” moment “one of the most harrowing sounds I’ve ever known,” as the cold men inside pleaded for help.

Inmates are banging on S-O-S on windows to get our attention,” he tweeted.

The footage has been viewed almost 14,000 times, with about 50 comments asking why the story has not received more media attention. Others questioned how the men could be forced to live in the “outrageous and barbaric” conditions, with some calling it “inhumane” and “tantamount to torture”.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York (D) said she visited the center on Saturday and there “appeared” to be some heat restored, but that the facility was still “dark and cold.”

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