Legal Aid Society


LAS: DOC Must Immediately Remedy Heat and Hot Water Outages

The Legal Aid Society condemned the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) for failing to provide working heat and hot water to incarcerated New Yorkers at the George R. Vierno Center and Rose M. Singer Center facilities on Rikers Island, which have now been offline since Tuesday, as reported by the New York Daily News.

Pursuant to Benjamin v. Molina – litigation brought by Legal Aid concerning a broad range of inhumane conditions and practices plaguing the entire local jail system, including water system issues, overcrowding, fire risks, sanitation deficiencies and extreme temperatures – DOC is required to confirm that heat is in working order heading into the colder months and maintain the systems in working order. Not more than a week ago, DOC notified Legal Aid and the Court Monitor that heating systems were operational.

“Only days ago, DOC certified that heating systems at Rikers Island were functioning and ready for the imminent colder weather. That was clearly not the case,” said Robert Quackenbush, an attorney with Legal Aid’s Prisoners’ Rights Project. “These outages will compound the already deplorable conditions that our incarcerated clients needlessly suffer each day, and we demand that DOC bolster efforts to bring heat back online at these two facilities.”

According to forecasts, temperatures will fall to the mid 40s at the end of the week and heading into the weekend.