ST. LOUIS–Alleged inhumane treatment is one of the many findings by the Corrections Task Force appointed by the Mayor after the St. Louis Justice Center riot.
One of the more surprising findings was on the second floor of the Justice Center. It’s an area inmates go after they’re booked on the first floor, a holding area before their cell assignments on the upper levels.
Task Force Chairman Rev Darryl Gray said, “One of our members, who is a pastor, told us that his walk-in closet is bigger than the holding cells (on the second floor).”
Rev. Gray and his task force turned over their report to Mayor Lyda Krewson today. They’re recommending urgent action to conditions on the second floor. Gray said, “You’ve got an open toilet. You’ve got no beds – so somebody who is in there for 48 hours, 72 hours and in one case 38 days with no bed – there are no shower facilities on that floor.”
The report says “…detainees often spend days and weeks in the holding cells without change of clothes, bed, or bedding.” It says “…each holding cell has one toilet and holds 31 inmates.” The report adds, “It was reported on the day of the tour that one detainee had been held in holding for 38 days.”
Gray added, “It’s my sincere hope that things are done immediately, because what we explained within our task force report is that the same conditions and feelings that prompted the uprising – it still exists. I think the good news is that the detainees know and that correctional staff know that there is somebody that is watching.”
Reverend Gray says that includes Mayor Krewson, who appointed the task force. He says she listened sincerely to their 64 recommendations. He said one of them is, “…a civilian oversight board similar to what the police have, somebody outside of the building needs to be monitoring and following up on grievances.” He said it would be similar to their task force, but a permanent fixture, adding, “What Alderman Vaccaro suggested is that our task force stay in place until a civilian oversight board can be established.”
There are many more recommendations you can read in the completed Corrections Task Force Report.
In a statement Friday, Mayor Krewson and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said they “will immediately begin to review the information and recommendations—some of which we believe are already in the process of being implemented.”