Protesters in St. Louis Demand Better Jail Conditions Following 2 Uprisings by Detainees

In the past two months, the St. Louis City Justice Center has been the site of two detainee riots calling for speedy trials and better conditions. Their appeals were effective when a group of protesters gathered outside the prison this week demanding better conditions for those detained.

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According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, about 50 demonstrators gathered in front of City Hall on Monday and marched to the justice center. They held signs and sang for detainees on remand in order to get quick court dates. “This has to be addressed and no one else is addressing it,” organizer Sarah Avery told the news agency. “These inmates are crying for your help.”

Part of what makes this situation so dire is that, in general, people are held in jail while waiting for court hearings. Many of these people have not been convicted of any crime, and they are likely to be jailed for minor offenses. Therefore, given the delays in court resulting from the ongoing pandemic, there is a high likelihood that there are people who may have been detained for longer periods than the crimes they are accused of could even warrant .

Prisoners and protesters not only want speedy trials, they also want conditions in prison to be improved. Security at the justice center was checked as the locks had long been known to be sub-par and detainees were able to open them during the two riots.

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From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Since the city’s corrections task force submitted his report on the conditions of detention In Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office in March, correction officers extended the time off for inmates. Personal visits have resumed, city officials said, and inmates should soon be able to video chat with family using portable tablets. According to official information, the facility’s locks are also being repaired.

We have implemented or are implementing many (recommendations), ”said Mayor Jacob Long. “When it comes to the building’s infrastructure, these repairs have started and will continue.”

The task force is working to establish an ordinance to set up a corrective action oversight body, said task force chairman Darryl Gray.

“What we’re making very clear is the need for subpoena and the need for full access (for the board of directors),” Gray said Monday.

Gray told Post-Dispatch that while he has been encouraged by the actions of current Mayor and new Mayor Tishaura Jones, he still needs to better inform city officials about what changes will be made and how long it will take them to take effect .

“One frustration the Task Force continues to have is that the [aldermanic] The Public Safety and Corrections Committee did not publicly disclose what recommendations were implemented or where they were implemented, ”Gray told the news agency. “We continue to hear from stakeholders and family members of those detained with no information on what progress is being made.”

The spokesman for the St. Louis Circuit Court, Thom Gross, informed the post-dispatch that the court proceedings, which were delayed due to the pandemic, had resumed at the end of March. “We’re moving as quickly as possible given the restrictions imposed by the Missouri Supreme Court [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the municipal health department, ”said Gross.

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