NewsPolice AccountabilityThe NorthSider

Group asks judge to set up jail oversight board

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Community leaders filed on Tuesday a petition for a local judge to appoint an oversight board for city jails after the second major inmate uprising this year.

The group asked St. Louis Circuit Court Presiding Judge Michael Stelzer to create a permanent, independent oversight board to ensure inmates are treated humanely at city jails.

Detainees broke windows, set a fire and threw chairs and other items out of a third-floor window Sunday at the City Justice Center.

The jail has been the site of multiple uprisings over the past several months, including a revolt in February involving more than 100 detainees. Inmates have voiced concerns about conditions at the jail, delayed court dates and the coronavirus pandemic.

A task force was appointed to look into issues at the downtown jail after the February revolt. Its chairman, the Rev. Darryl Gray, issued a report last month urging the city to establish an independent oversight board to help oversee the lockup.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen hasn’t done so yet. On Monday, Gray said the Sunday uprising was “avoidable.” He said implementing some of the task force’s recommendations would have shown the detainees that the city was responding to their concerns.

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