ST. LOUIS – St. Louis County Executive Sam Page spoke Wednesday morning about a new racial equity study.

He was joined by researchers from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Florida State University, and George Mason University to kick off this study that’s the first of its kind and will take place over the next 18 months at the St. Louis County Justice Center.

The MacArthur Foundation granted $299,685 to the collaborative study. Its goal is to help St. Louis County Jail point out programs and policies that can be put into place to help improve the culture inside the jail and ultimately reduce its population.

“Through the leadership of Scott Anders and his predecessor, Doug Burris, the culture of the jail has fundamentally improved, with more programming and educational opportunities for residents and more training and pay for employees,” Page said. “This study will help us address racial inequities to create a healthier work environment for staff and improve relationships with jail residents as well as the outcomes for those residents once they leave our care.”

Page was joined by Carrie Pettus Davis with FSU, Faye Taxman with GMU, Beth Huebner with UMSL, Nancy McCarthy, a retired state probation regional administrator, and Rebecca Bennett, founder of Emerging Wisdom and InPower Institute.

The study team will work with jail administrators, program contractors and staff, corrections officers, former jail residents, and current ones to review data, policies, and procedures on the culture of the jail. The hope is that this project will produce practices and policy innovations that could be replicated across the criminal justice system.

To view Page’s full press briefing from Wednesday morning, click here.