St. Louis medium security `Workhouse` gets temporary air conditioners

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. _ Relief could be coming Monday morning for prisoners city’s Medium Security Institution. Many areas of the facility, commonly known as the ‘Workhouse,’ aren’t air conditioned.

A spokesperson for Mayor Lyda Krewson says portable air conditioning units should be arriving between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

FOX 2 crews captured the scene last week as inmates yelled for help during the blistering summer heat wave. The facility was built back in 1966 and only a few areas have air conditioning. That means staff members routinely work in hot spaces and inmates have to rely on vented windows for air circulation.

The jail houses inmates who have been charged but have not or cannot make bail before their court date.

On Friday evening, things got heated outside the workhouse as protesters demanded the facility be shut down because of the conditions inside. They were concerned, not only about the air conditioning issue, but also reports that inmates were living in mold and that is a rodent problem in the workhouse.

The demonstration went on for some time. Police eventually pepper sprayed some demonstrators after the situation escalated.

Mayor Krewson`s office said last week that precautions were being taken during heat for prisoners.  Among those measures, putting as many people as possible in air conditioned areas, including women and medically sensitive inmates.

Fans, cold towels and drinks were also provided.

Bringing in AC units will not be cheap. It could cost up to $40,000 for the first four weeks.

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