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The Warden Tried to Cover Up a Crisis at His Freezing Brooklyn Jail — Then He Got Promoted
by Nick Pinto
Posted August 13, 2019

protests against Herman Quay's leadership at prisonIt’s been five months since a crisis of freezing and inhumane conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, when a power failure brought darkness to a detention center already inundated by the January cold. The Bureau of Prisons and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice both pledged to investigate conditions at the federal jail but have yet to release their reports.

Even as those inquiries remain open, and blame for the crisis remains officially unassigned, Herman Quay, who as warden presided over the jail, has been promoted. As of June 9, Quay has a new job as complex warden overseeing three federal prisons in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, where he is responsible for some 3,400 incarcerated people — roughly twice as many as he was charged with in Brooklyn.

Quay didn’t just preside over the crisis, he attempted to conceal it. He told the press that reports of inadequate heat in the cells were “inaccurate” and that incarcerated people had been “out all week” in common areas, rather than locked down in their cells. His staff initially tried to blame the power outage on Con Edison. More…