The Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn should open its doors to unannounced inspections by elected officials and judges, according to five Democratic primary candidates, reported The Daily News.

The letter signed by Daniel Goldman, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan), Councilwoman Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan) and Jo Anne Simon urges a string of reforms to “address the deplorable and inhumane conditions” at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Defense lawyers and inmates have been reporting inhumane conditions at the Sunset Park jail for years.

“It should be a model institution. Instead, systematic dysfunction at MDC-Brooklyn has resulted in years of unacceptable conditions of confinement for detainees, denial of basic necessities, and inadequate access to counsel and legal materials,” the letter stated. “This humanitarian crisis must be addressed now.”

The politicians joined the Federal Defenders, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Comptroller Brad Lander in calling on the federal government to take several immediate reforms, including allowing unannounced visits at MDC. The pols plan a press conference outside the jail this Tuesday.

The letter goes on to call on the federal government to increase medical staffing to meet the needs of all the detainees and make sure everyone housed there gets “healthy, sufficient food” daily.

This demand comes in light of a number of recent atrocities. Notably including last October’s incident where defense lawyers asserted that their clients frequently had no water, hot food, or correct medicine dosages.

In addition to this, a week-long blackout in January 2019 left all 1,700 detainees in the dark and freezing cold, with no access to the outside world. And at least four inmates have died in custody since 2020.

And even with ongoing media attention The Metropolitan Detention Center remains at the center of a strenuous legal battle with defense lawyers, politicians, and local activists fighting for inmates to have basic rights. But, many hope that with this new string of reforms change will follow in suit.

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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