Hot Showers in a Heat Wave? The Only Option for Some NYC Inmates 

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Photo by naxoc via Flickr

Last weekend’s heat wave proved more than a scorcher for inmates in a Brooklyn, N.Y., facility.

A surprise inspection of the Brooklyn House of Detention found few fans, a shortage of ice water and showers that only ran hot.

The inspection found that the 450 detainees there were living in “cruelly hot” conditions, Bklyner reported.

Earlier reports found that individuals incarcerated at New York’s Rikers Island prison complex were not fully protected from the extreme temperatures.

But the Brooklyn report made clear the problem extended to other city boroughs.

“Not enough fans. Not enough ice water. Hot showers instead of cold,” Council Member Brad Lander who joined NYC Board of Correction for the inspection, said in a Facebook post.

Air-conditioning is only installed in the medical and intake areas of the facility, Bklyner reported.

Therefore, fans are required, but they were only placed at the end of hallways, providing “some relief for the first few cells, but none for the half at the other end,” according to Lander.

At the beginning of the heatwave Friday, ten new fans were delivered to the center. However, maintenance staff was off work over the weekend, so they were never assembled, Lander said.

When cell temperatures rise over 80, which happened over the weekend, the showers are required to be cold. When tested, the shower water was hot, according to Lander.

At least three public defenders took to Twitter to inform the public that those incarcerated at Rikers did not have air conditioning during the heatwave, reported the Daily Sabah. Some even said that fans were turned off as a form of punishment.

The Brooklyn Defender Services tweeted that fans were turned off as punishment for prisoners who took their shirts off, reported the Huffington Post. They said that the Department of Corrections does not supply summer clothes for many incarcerated at Rikers. Some only have long johns to wear.

Those incarcerated at Rikers have died from heat in the past, according to RT News. In 2014, a prisoner there died in his cell as a result of malfunctioning heating equipment.

In response, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who declared a heat emergency, said proper clothing has been provided and ice, water, and fans were given to facilities on Rikers without air conditioning. However, many prisons and jails across the state still lack air conditioning, RT news reported.

Maria Trovato is a TCR news intern.

One thought on “Hot Showers in a Heat Wave? The Only Option for Some NYC Inmates 

  1. Instead of protesting for the rights of illegals who have broken our laws, Brad Lander and his socialist-progressive friends of Park Slope should be out doing something to improve the conditions of American citizens who are in jail such as fund raising for central A/C and other services for convicts. The Park Slope co-op should make it mandatory that all of its members take in a recently freed convict to help him/her make a transition from prison to being a successful member of society. This would be the best way to practice what these progressives preach.

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