Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

St. Louis Jail Tensions 'Boiled Over' Amid COVID-19 Worries

KSMU - Ozarks Public Radio

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Detainees have complained for decades about conditions inside St. Louis jails, but when COVID-19 worries were added to the mix, the tension reached breaking point.

In the predawn hours of Feb. 6, 117 inmates at the City Justice Center downtown broke free from their cells. They smashed windows, set clothing and brooms on fire and tossed chairs, a filing cabinet and other items through the broken glass to the street four stories below. Though the city claims there are “zero” cases of the coronavirus in the jail, more than 100 inmates or advocates on their behalf have called a nonprofit's hotline citing either positive tests of coronavirus-like symptoms.