STL city Alderman president calls for temporary A/C units to be install in Workhouse jail

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed echoes State Rep. Joshua Peters and calls the conditions at the St. Louis Workhouse "deplorable." And now the alderman president is hoping to install A/C units to help inmates stay cool.

After yelling out from inside of their jail cells, inmates at St. Louis City Workhouse could finally be getting the help they’re hoping for.
Reed said he heard inmates' concerns and knew he had to fix it.

“I think the conditions are obviously deplorable,” he said. “I think the city needs to do something and do something immediately.”

Reed has now requested for the city's corrections division and board of public service to install brand new air conditioner units in the workhouse. The cost would fall between $10,000 and $20,000.

“It’s within reach,” he said. “Especially given the fact that this facility is mainly for people being held over for trial.”

It’s unclear where exactly that money will come from, but Reed said his goal is to work for long term fixes.

Reed points out it costs the city approximately $80 per day to house each inmate with parole and probation violations. The state could reimburse the city up to $30 per inmate. However, over the last 10 years, records show the city only receives $20 per inmate from the state, leaving the city with the remainder.

“That’s almost a 50 percent cut,” he said. “Who makes up the difference -- the taxpayers in St. Louis! So it’s coming out of our pockets because the state isn’t paying their fair share.”

Many people expressed little grief for the inmates on social media. Reed said keep in mind, correctional officers work there as well and the city must maintain humane living conditions.

“It’s a much different situation when you’re held captive when you’re in a cell with no fan, no nothing, so it’s a completely different thing,” Reed said. “And also, it’s important that the city proceeds prudently given that they are under our care at this point in time.”