ST. LOUIS – Civil rights advocates, surviving families, and local organizations held a rally and press conference on Monday after six detainees died in the St. Louis Justice Center in the last six months.
The rally and press conference were held Monday morning, as the groups involved said they’re doing this to show solidarity with those currently detained at the CJC and to honor the six people who lost their lives there.
Several speakers were in attendance and said they want full transparency on all jail deaths from elected officials. The coalition included impacted families who have lost loved ones in custody, previously detained individuals, Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders, and more.
They demanded that the detention facility oversight board immediately launch a full investigation into the six deaths and any ongoing complaints made by those detained. They also called for the release of detainees accused of lower-level crimes and those with serious medical conditions, as well as to increase the use of pretrial release versus “no bond allowed” determinations.
The group said detainees have reported overcrowding and being contained to their cells for 23 hours per day. They also explained that pepper spray, bear mace, and tear gas are often used on inmates. They would demand an immediate end to the use of all chemical agents against detainees, an end to 23-hour lockdowns, adequate safe drinking water and food for detainees, and increased medical resources to provide needed medical care to all detainees.