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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

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