Riot police dispatched to break up protest outside the "Workhous - KMOV.com

Riot police dispatched to break up protest outside the "Workhouse"

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Police were in riot gear and using pepper spray to disperse protesters outside the St. Louis Medium Security Institution Friday, a jail known as “The Workhouse.”

The protest began at 7:00 p.m., as nearly 200 people gathered to push for the closure of the jail due to what they believe are poor living conditions.

Among the protesters was State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, who is pushing for reform of the jail and said she has urged Governor Eric Greitens to tour the facility and see it for himself.

"So that he can see the conditions of this facility and how it's being ran," she said. "Inhumane. It's deplorable and it should not be accepted under any circumstances."

According to reports, protesters chanted and yelled back and forth with the prisoners, clanking pans and flashing signs. Some protesters crawled under the outer fence of the facility and made it onto prison grounds, prompting a police response.

At least one person was arrested and several protesters’ cars were towed away.

The jail was thrust into the spotlight this week when prisoners were seen crying for help, claiming the temperatures inside the jail were unlivable.

Most of the building was built in the 1960s and has no air conditioning, driving internal temperatures above 100 degrees during the current heatwave.

According to the St. Louis Mayor's Office, the city is in negotiations on a contract that could bring air conditioning to the facility starting as early as Monday.

However protesters are still up in arms about other alleged issues at the prison, including mold and rodent infestation and have vowed to continue to push for its closure.

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