Inside the St. Louis ‘Workhouse’ - KMOV.com

Inside the St. Louis ‘Workhouse’

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

News 4 got an inside look at the medium-security institution commonly known as the Workhouse.

The Workhouse, located just north of downtown, made national headlines in the past year for its conditions, notably, oppressive heat during the summer.

Inmates have complained and filed suit saying the workhouse has inadequate ventilation, lacks medical care and sanitation, something St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards disputes.

“I hope the takeaway from today is that while it is an old building, it is indeed a functional building, it is a secure building,” said Edwards says.

The Workhouse house nearly 550 inmates. Roughly 70 are females and are given access to medical care.

“Normal services running for the doctor, the psychiatrist, the dentist and the nurses doing sick calls so they could see anywhere from 50 to 70 people,” said Lacinda Jones, the Health Service Administrator at the Workhouse.

One inmate receiving medical treatment said there were rats and cockroaches at the Workhouse, saying “the place is ridiculous,” adding that the city needs a new facility.

“I’m not suggesting that we don’t have problems in the building, this is an old building and sometimes the toilets don’t work, but maintenance is here and they work,” said Edwards.

There are programs available to teach the inmates skills.

“Inmate students that are in training produce all the bread, all the cakes, all the pastries, everything,” said Dirk Peterson with the Division of Corrections.

St. Louis Corrections Commissioner Dale Glass said he would like to see more programs.

“Drug treatment, education, mental health, physical health, job placement, those kinds of things,” said Glass. “It doesn’t make sense to house inmates in a facility, locking them up until the court date. We have to something imbetween to try and make sure they don’t return here.”

In August, voters in St. Louis City will decide on a $50 million bond issue. If approved, $6.5 million would go towards various repairs at various Department of Corrections facilities which would include permanent air conditions at the Workhouse.

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