Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Food

Kosher Inmates Are Only Getting Sardines In This Brooklyn Jail

As temperatures begin to drop dangerously low, inmates at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center have been going days without heat, warm water, or hot food. One kosher-observing inmate said he had only been given canned sardines to eat.

In a story broken by The New York Times, federal defenders said their phones were ringing off the hook with calls from terrified inmates, concerned for their survival. Benjamin Yaster, a lawyer at Federal Defenders of New York, filed court documents for his client Dino Sanchez, stating that “Mr. Sanchez has only been given the single, thin blanket he received upon intake. He has not been provided any additional blankets or clothing while the heat is out. Further, hot water has been unavailable for long stretches of time.”

The building next door to the jail, which is also owned by the jail, has full power and heat. Herman Quay, the jail’s warden, acknowledged that the building had temporarily been out of power, but did not acknowledge that this outage affected heat and hot water in the building, a claim which union leaders and lawyers denied.

MDC Brooklyn, which is home to both male and female prisoners of all security levels, was built in the 1990s. The jail last made headlines for being involved in a disproportionate amount of sexual assault cases involving female inmates.

Shira Feder is a writer. She’s at [email protected] and @shirafeder

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.