Some officers fear it’s too late to gain back control of the St. Louis Justice Center

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – You were not seeing things. Sunday night’s riot on the third floor looked exactly like the one from two months ago that was on the fourth floor. Last night’s inmate takeover also breached an area meant for officers to go for safety. 

As one active officer warned us in February, “That area is only for the officers in case of a riot.  You are to get inside of there.”

After the February riot, more than half of the fourth floor inmates were moved out to other areas.  St. Louis Board of Public Service President Rich Bradley said today it’s where they have been working to fix broken locks. 

“We started immediately after the last function. The next day we started working on that. As you can imagine- you can’t go to Lowes to buy penal locks,” said Bradley.

One active officer told me today that they’ve been warning supervisors that the third floor has the same problems as the other floor, but that no one seems to want to hear it.  Even the recent Corrections Task Force, appointed after the February riot to find solutions – they were prohibited from talking to corrections officers. 

Reverend Darryl Gray told us on March 12, “We said that the biggest obstacle that we felt and that we took exception to is that we had a list of who we wanted to talk to.”  The list included detainees and corrections officers, both of whom they were kept from. Gray added, “We were not able to talk to correctional officers who obviously are under a great deal of stress. You have over 900 people in the corrections center which has an occupancy of 650.”

Corrections Commissioner Dale Glass said today, the riot is no one’s fault, except the inmates.  He said, “There is nothing that we did to cause them to act this way.”  

Commissioner Glass reiterated something officers have complained to Fox 2 about for weeks – that they’re currently responding more than they are preventing problems.  

“The detainees can be resourceful if they want to do something and we try to combat it,” Glass said.

Current security enhancements underway were budgeted at $13.5 million dollars before Sunday night’s riot.  Now more inmates are being moved out of the Justice Center to the Workhouse for this latest safety response.

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