A spokeswoman for Herman Quay, the jail’s warden, told the Times that the building had gone through a power outage last Saturday, but denied that heat and hot water had been affected.
The federal Bureau of Prisons backed up that claim, telling NYT that the jail was “experiencing a partial power outage” and using emergency power. The agency also insinuated that the mishap was Con Edison's fault, since it had been “dealing with numerous power emergencies in the community.”
However, a spokesman for Con Edison said that it hadn’t had any problems in New York during the polar vortex. “It’s an internal problem, and their electricians will have to fix it,” the spokesman said. “End of story.”
Emergency power did little to help, leaving the corridors dimly lit, jail cells dark, and inmates with limited heat on days when the temperature dropped to two degrees in New York City. Inmates hadn’t been served hot food for several days, never received the extra blankets they were promised, and the commissary was closed due to limited electricity.
Meek Mill—who was recently released from a stint in jail—took to Twitter to share a video by Bronx rapper Mysonne, where you could hear the inmates banging on the walls for help. Meek also discussed his own experience in prison, and the poor living conditions he endured.
“I been thru this sleeping with 2 thermal sets on.. county clothes ....skully..county coat 4 blankets and 4 sheets because half of our window was broken out in the middle or January," Meek wrote, "the funny part is I used to get on the phone and not even speak on it.”