National News

Cries for help dealing with the heat coming from inmates at St. Louis jail

Posted July 21

— Cries for help dealing with the heat are coming from inmates at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, also known as the Workhouse.

With no air-conditioning in much of the 50-year-old facility, News 4 talked to officials about what's being done.

"Some will say they don't deserve air conditioning, they should be hot," said St. Louis Corrections Commissioner Dale Glass. "Some will say you're inhumane, let them go."

Glass told News 4 he's developed a heat safety plan to address the issue. The cafeteria and other common areas are serving as cooling stations, and there's also round-the-clock medical help in case there are heat-related illnesses.

"I'll do what I can with the resources I have and my main objective is to make sure that although it's hot, it's safe," said Glass.

"I'm not saying that it's supposed to be the Ritz Carlton, we all know that, but the conditions that we have them in is unconstitutional to some degree," said State Representative Joshua Peters.

Representative Peters said the Workhouse's heat issue is only the beginning. He told News 4 he recently toured the facility and inmates had plenty of other complaints.

"Individuals were screaming out that they had been bitten by rodents," said Representative Peters. "Others were screaming about mold and infestation. We need someone to go back there and find out what's going on."

Peters has asked for a special committee to investigate the Workhouse and its living conditions.

Thursday, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed said he has started seeking emergency cooling options for the Workhouse. The expense would come from city emergency funds.

Just before 12 p.m. Friday, Peters issued the following statement responding to Reed's cooling options:

"While I appreciate the temporary solution proposed by the President of the Board of Aldermen, Lewis Reed, to alleviate suffering from the extreme heat by those housed and employed at the City Workhouse, it does not address the other very serious health and safety issues, such as mold, insect and vermin infestation, and unsanitary food preparation. I intend to continue to seek State intervention to resolve these issues."

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all