Protest Inhumane Conditions In St. Louis Jail

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Above photo: By @ktbcn6278 on Twitter.

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis police in riot gear used pepper spray to disperse protests Friday outside a jail that has drawn intense criticism for not having air-conditioning while the city has faced a heat wave.

About 200 people demonstrated for the closure of the St. Louis Workhouse, a medium-security jail, CBS affiliate KMOV reports. The jail, mainly built in the 1960s, has no air conditioning while temperatures have hit triple digits. In a video posted on Facebook earlier this week, inmates can be heard yelling “help us!” and “we ain’t got no A/C!”

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the protesters outside chanted “let them go” while inmates responded “let us out!” At least one person was arrested and several protesters’ cars were towed away, KMOV reports.

Among the protesters was State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, who is pushing for reform of the jail. She told KMOV she has urged Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to tour the facility “so that he can see the conditions of this facility and how it’s being ran.”

“Inhumane,” she said. “It’s deplorable and it should not be accepted under any circumstances.”

According to KMOV, the St. Louis Mayor’s office said the city is in negotiations on a contract that could bring air conditioning to the facility starting as early as Monday.

City Corrections Commissioner Dale Glass said the jail has developed a heat safety plan, with the cafeteria and the common areas serving as cooling areas. There is also 24-hour medical help available, he told KMOV.

State Representative Joshua Peters told KMOV earlier this week that he visited the jail and “the conditions that we have them in is unconstitutional to some degree.” He said in addition to the heat, “individuals were screaming out that they had been bitten by rodents.”

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