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One sign made out of tape on the facility wall read "This is not ok".

Love & Hip Hop star Yandy Smith was pepper sprayed on Sunday while protesting outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, FOX 5 News' Lisa Evers first reported on social media.

While many make complaints that the detention centers inmates are criminals, most are still awaiting trial and haven't been convicted.

The Federal Defenders of NY, a public defender organization, sued the Bureau of Prisons, alleging it violated the constitutional rights of inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn by denying legal visits during the outage. Now, inmates have taken matters in their own hands to reveal the conditions they are facing as a result of the weather.

"Freezing" inmates at a New York City prison have spent a week with limited heat or electricity during the polar vortex which brought temperatures down to -17C (2F).

The reality TV star told People magazine past year that she fights for social justice because she wants to set a good example for her two kids. A number of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of inmates asking for redress of inhumane and life-threatening conditions. Patton said he was unable to go into detail about the suit until after it is filed.

The Justice Department said that power was restored around 6:30 p.m. Sunday and that it was working to prevent future problems.

A reporter and photographer for The Associated Press were at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn when a woman whose son is being detained tried to get into the jail.

A spokesperson for MDC said in part, "Inmates have hot water for showers and hot water in the sinks in the cell".

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The Bureau of Prisons disputed allegations that inmates didn't have access to hot water.

Inmates at the facility had been living without power for the past week.

Priscilla, who has a boyfriend inside the jail, told WCBS 880 that authorities have stopped outside visitors from entering.

However, several lawmakers who toured the jail Saturday said conditions remained unacceptable and accused jail officials of not understanding the urgency of the situation. This comes on the heels of an uproar over inmates who were seen shoveling snow in Chicago on January 28 as record cold weather approached-fueling the debate of modern slavery in the nation's prison system.

"These units had a panicky feeling", von Dornum wrote. At the time the jail was opening its doors, more than half of all federal prisoners were serving sentences for drug crimes, according to Bureau of Justice Statistics reports.

Patton said his office began having problems contacting inmates during the 35-day government shutdown.

"It is very apparent that there is a massive failure of caring here, a massive failure of proper supervision, a massive failure of planning", Rep. Jerrold Nadler said after touring several floors on Sunday.

She also encountered inmates who reported untreated serious medical conditions and said they had not received clean clothing or bedding since the fire, forcing one inmate to sleep on bloody bedding, the lawsuit said.

The BOP issued a statement on Saturday that they expect electricity to be restored on Monday, over a week after the fire cut power.


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