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ST. LOUIS – Tensions boiled over at the St. Louis Justice Center on Tuesday. There was no riot but 56 inmates were transferred to the city’s Medium Security Institution (MSI), commonly known as The Workhouse. The Workhouse has been in the process of being closed due to sub-par conditions in the past.

According to a city spokesman, there had been an ongoing rift among groups of inmates. Things escalated between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. The inmates became non-compliant and refused orders to return to their cells but did not take control over any portion of the jail.

Police civil disobedience and riot teams were alerted but had no direct contact with inmates. Corrections officers and St. Louis City Sheriff’s deputies resolved the matter with no violence or injuries.

There will be an internal review into the response and exactly what set things off among the inmates. At last count, there were more than 850 inmates at the Justice Center.

The spokesman called it a “very sensitive environment” at the jail, perhaps more than ever, with concerns about the spread of COVID-19 heightening tensions at prisons and jails across the country.