On January 27th, an electrical fire knocked out power in parts of the Metropolitan Detention Center. The outage lasted a week.
Inmates – which included Keith Alan Raniere – endured lockdowns, with no light, frigid conditions, cold food, and inadequate medical care.
Raniere, along with others, has to sit in 60-degree cells in paper-thin short-sleeve scrubs. It was brutal and punishing, so painful that Raniere might have experienced the love he claims can only come through human pain.
A report by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General released in September found that the heating problems existed before the fire and that all winter, the place is cold.
“MDC Brooklyn should add thermal underwear, sweat suits, or other cold-weather clothing to its list of standard-issue attire,” the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General recommended.
According to the Daily News, it is uncertain if all 1,700 inmates at MDC will actually receive warm clothing this winter.
During a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing on October 17th, Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer told Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler that warm clothes were on the way for every inmate at MDC.
“’We’re giving them plenty of blankets, plenty of warm clothing and we’re giving them a coat, just in case,” Sawyer said. “God forbid this occur again but if it does we should be much better prepared to deal with it.”
But, in the same hearing, the executive director of the Federal Defenders of New York, David Patton, said MDC Associate Warden Andy Cruz told him the jail would not be giving every inmate warm clothing.
“’No, we’re not going to do that [Cruz reportedly told Patton]. …. [the] extra sets (of warm clothes) [are] in case we have an emergency.”‘
The Bureau of Prisons seems to support Sawyer’s statements, however.
“MDC Brooklyn ordered more than enough cold weather clothing (i.e., thermal wear, coats, and winter hats) to outfit every inmate in their facility. This supply of inventory is scheduled to arrive soon and will be issued to inmates upon receipt. Additionally, an entirely separate supply of cold weather clothing, to include blankets, is being ordered as backup inventory to have on hand in case of an emergency, or for any other reason inmates need more clothing,” the BOP said.
If true, this is good news for Raniere – for he has already suffered more than other prisoners. He has been beaten repeatedly, had his glasses stolen, had excrement put in his cell, had his clothes urinated on, got jock itch, athlete’s foot, head lice, and ringworm.
On top of that, he has had heart palpitations, slipped on toilet water when practicing karate which caused a significant wrist injury, and was put on suicide watch for a time. When the beatings were getting out of hand, he was placed in the SHU [solitary confinement].
And he, like the other inmates at MDC, was cold as hell last January.
Raniere will be sentenced on January 17th – and may have to remain at MDC throughout February and March while he waits for the Bureau of Prisons to transfer him to a maximum-security prison.
Raniere faces a minimum 15-year sentence for sex trafficking and whatever else the judge chooses to add on for his other six felony counts.
He is 59 and is considered by his followers to be the smartest man in MDC, if not in the entire world.