Inmates now say the Workhouse is too cold after AC units were in - KMOV.com

Inmates now say the Workhouse is too cold after AC units were installed

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

The relief from the heat is now a causing complaints from inmates inside the Workhouse, saying the medium-security institute is too cold. 

News 4 reported the city installed five temporary air conditioning units, ranging from 25-50 tons in weight. The installations came after inmates were heard calling from the prison windows, saying it was too hot inside and that their cells had no air conditioning. The city will pay $40,000 for one month of service until a permanent solution is found. 

However, now inmates inside the prison are complaining the conditions are too cold. 

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Koran Addo, with Mayor Lyda Krewson's office, said the staff at the prison were overwhelmed with complaints from inmates about the cooler temperatures. Addo said one inmate was even caught using a broom handle to break one of the cooling pipes from the air conditioner. The inmate was placed into administrative confinement. 

At this time, the mayor's office has reached out to the company who installed the temporary units.

"We're going to see if they can install thermostats on them so that the staff can more regularly monitor the temperature and keep the inmates comfortable," said Addo. 

The rent for the units already installed has already been paid, but they do not have cost estimates for thermostats yet.

"We don't want to be cruel, we just want to run a good facility," said Addo.

Advocacy groups, Arch City Defenders and Saint Louis Action Council, were very involved in the protests during the extreme heat. News 4 reached out to both to hear their reaction to this temperature switch. Arch City Defenders did not respond and Saint Louis Action Council said they just learned of this new complaint and tell News 4 it's too early to have a reaction yet.  

News 4 also reached out to Rep. Joshua Peters, who was vocal during the protests, calling the Workhouse conditions "unsafe and unsanitary." He responded with the statement below. He believes these complaints of temperature are distracting from what he calls "bigger issues" of conditions at the Workhouse. 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.State Representative Joshua Peters “I think that anything that detracts from the real issue of the unsanitary and unsafe conditions of the city Workhouse wastes time. The presence of mold, insect and rodent infestations have been the focus of my calls for the facility to be shut down. They are the basis of my pointing out the similarities between the 1990 court order against City and that these same conditions which exist today, including the inability to make bail and lack of public defenders. It is why I have called for immediate press access along with members of the St. Louis Clergy to interview inmates and workers, while protecting their identities, and to let the community know the truth. If the City has nothing to hide, then open the doors to the press, clergy.” 

The city says they do not know when the inmates will see a change in temperature at this point, "Hopefully soon...sooner, rather than later," said Addo. 

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