Three Break Into St. Louis County Jail And Have To Be Rescued By Cops

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St. Louis County Jail
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Three bumbling trespassers were rescued by police last week after accidentally locking themselves in a jail cell inside an empty facility in St. Louis.

According to police spokesperson Sgt. Charles Wall, officers responded to the Medium Security Institution, commonly known as the “Workhouse,” after receiving a call for help from the three men.

After freeing the men from the cell, the police proceeded to arrest them, allowing the suspects to see the inside of an active jail.

Sgt. Wall stated that the individuals could be looking at charges for property damage, burglary, and theft. An investigation into the incident is currently underway.

Why St. Louis County Jail Was Shuttered

The “Workhouse” has remained vacant for over a year, after the last inmates were relocated in May 2022.

In 2021, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announced the jail’s closure following accusations of inhumane conditions the incarcerated faced.

Reports indicated that the conditions endured by inmates at the “Workhouse” were appalling, including contamination of food with rodent feces, infestations of insects and snakes, and severe overcrowding.

The nonprofit organization ArchCity Defenders filed a federal lawsuit in 2017 on behalf of seven former inmates seeking monetary compensation and the permanent closure of the facility.

At the time, the St. Louis mayor’s office claimed that the jail undergoes multiple inspections each year by the city Health Department, with issues being addressed promptly.

Spokesman Koran Addo noted that preventive maintenance is regularly carried out at the jail.

St. Louis County Jail Faces Lawsuit

One of the individuals involved in the lawsuit was James Cody, 43, from Jefferson City. Cody spent eight months in the jail this year due to a probation violation.

He reported finding mouse feces in the cake he was fed, with the staff allegedly scraping it off instead of providing clean food.

Cody also recounted being housed in a dormitory with 69 other men, sharing a single functioning toilet, sink, and shower.

He further described the unbearable heat during the summer, with temperatures reaching 125 degrees inside the jail.

Protests took place in July of that year, prompting temporary installation of portable air conditioners in the facility by city officials.

Another former inmate, Diedre Wortham, shared her experience of being arrested on a ten-year-old traffic violation and spending 22 days in the jail.

Wortham claimed that after being hospitalized for high blood pressure, she was denied her prescribed medication for an entire week of her detention time.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it out of the Workhouse alive,” Wortham told KENS5.

“I felt like I was treated like a dog,” Cody added. “Dogs get treated better, to tell you the truth.”

A steering committee has been established to oversee the future of the facility and recommend potential new uses to city leaders.

The committee recently released the results of a community survey conducted in August and is planning a second survey to further refine the options.

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