Five months ago, a power failure brought darkness to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., amid the January cold. The Bureau of Prisons and the Justice Department Inspector General pledged to investigate. As those inquiries remain open, Herman Quay, who as warden presided over the jail, has been promoted, The Intercept reports. Quay now oversees three federal prisons in Allenwood, Pa., where he is responsible for 3,400 inmates, about twice as many as in Brooklyn. “It’s certainly not acceptable that the person who was responsible for the care of all the inmates at that facility, who from our perspective did not exercise due care, would then be getting a promotion to another facility,” said Robert Gottheim, an aide to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who toured the center and denounced the conditions.
As warden last winter, Quay was responsible for a jail in which inmates reported freezing cells, insufficient clothing, near-perpetual lockdown in unlit cells, cold and unreliable meals, deprivation of legal counsel and family visits, and medical neglect. Conditions became dire after an electrical fire knocked out power to much of the jail on January 27 during a week of arctic temperatures. People familiar with the jail say it has a long history of inadequate heat and medical care. Quay said reports of inadequate heat were “inaccurate” and that prisoners had been “out all week” in common areas, rather than locked in their cells. He told the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan heat and hot water were unaffected and that inmates were receiving hot meals and medical care and were not confined to cells. When Nadler toured the facility, Quay told him it had long had issues with heat, hot water, and electricity, but he had never reported that to the Bureau of Prisons.