St. Louis Jail Inmates Condemn Prison Conditions

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Erika Wurst, a lawyer with the St. Louis public defender’s office, and other advocates allege that inmates have been mistreated during the coronavirus pandemic, left in de facto solitary confinement and minded by jail staffers who do not maintain proper safety protocols, reports the Washington Post. City officials, meanwhile, defended their management of the facility, saying they have provided appropriate treatment and protective equipment. According to authorities, Saturday’s disruption began when a “defiant” inmate “got into a scuffle” with a corrections officer. Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said other inmates detained on the same floor then “jumped” the officer. More than 100 inmates were involved. Before Saturday’s unrest, ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit legal advocacy group that created a hotline in late March for people to report on conditions at local jails, had received 60 calls about issues at the facility, including concerns about inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus not being isolated, a lack of recreational time and retribution from guards over complaints.

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