Last Detainees Moved Out Of Troubled St. Louis Jail

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The last detainees held at a troubled jail in St. Louis were moved Thursday to the City Justice Center downtown, after years of criticism that the jail's conditions were inhumane.

Mayor Tishaura O. Jones had promised to close the 56-year-old Medium Security Institution, generally known as the workhouse, within her first 100 days in office.

“There has been a community outcry to close the outdated facility that has been plagued with problems, unsanitary and inhumane conditions,” Public Safety Director Dan Isom said Thursday.

However, a contingency plan means detainees might be moved back into a single unit at the workhouse if the City Justice Center becomes overcrowded, Isom said. With the new transfers, the downtown jail is at about 95 percent capacity, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The staffs at the two facilities have been combined, which will help ease critical understaffing at the downtown jail, Isom said.

The downtown jail also has had several problems, including detainees overpowering corrections officers in recent months and two significant inmate uprisings in the spring.

Upgrades to justice center should be complete in about a year, Isom said Thursday.