Everyone arrested in Brooklyn is brought to Central Booking, the maze-like warren of cold cement beneath the courthouse at 120 Schermerhorn Street downtown. It is not a pleasant place. You wait there for hours while cases upstairs grind ahead until it’s your turn to see a judge.
In fact, conditions in Brooklyn Central Booking are so bad that Judge William F. Kuntz II has allowed a lawsuit to proceed on behalf of first-time arrestees who were detained there from 2011 to 2013. The plaintiffs allege conditions so deplorable, Judge Kuntz held, that they violate the Constitution: insect infestation, sleep deprivation, lack of functioning toilets (and insufficient toilet paper), inadequate food and water and indifference by guards to ongoing crime and violence within the facility. In short, if the allegations are proved, the city and people who run Central Booking deprived arrestees of “the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities.” Our Constitution does not permit that. Meanwhile, don’t get arrested in Brooklyn.