On Easter Sunday, about 60 people detained in the St. Louis City Justice Center (CJC) jail in downtown St. Louis fled their cells and banded together in a riot to demand their day in court and the Prison conditions improve amid death toll in pandemic. It was the second major uprising at the CJC since February and at least the fourth coordinated protest there in the past five months. Across the country, the pandemic has sparked a year of unprecedented unrest in prisons and prisons. Researchers at Perilous Chronicle reported in November that there had been 119 collective acts of resistance in facilities in the United States and Canada in the first 90 days of Covid-19.
The Easter Rising began around 8:30 a.m. ClockWhen protesters smashed the windows of the third floor prison and dropped a sign painted with white toothpaste that read help us. They shouted to a crowd that gathered below: “We want court dates!” Protesters threw prison uniforms, furniture, a computer and other items from broken windows. The riot lasted for hours as inmates gained control of two separate wings of the prison. Eventually, the police in riot gear pulled back control and dispersed the protest with tear gas.
A few months earlier, on December 29 and January 1, groups of inmates refused to return to their cells, protesting an almost complete lack of Covid-19 protection. Ultimately, tear gas suppressed these efforts and over 100 inmates were sent to the Medium Security Institution, better known as the “Workhouse,” a facility notorious for its inhumane conditions and history of abuse.
Activists have been calling for the workhouse to be closed permanently for years. Last June, the Board of Aldermen voted to close it. That shutdown was supposed to happen on December 31st until former Mayor Lyda Krewson reversed course. Efforts by activists to rescue inmates en masse had reduced the workhouse population from 575 in 2018 to less than 60 by November 2020. After this series of uprisings, however, the workhouse population rose again to 330 prisoners.
Newly elected Mayor Tishaura Jones has renewed the promise to close the workhouse, saying she will do so in her first 100 days. Their administration’s budget for the 2022 financial year was to cut and redistribute all of them Financing of $ 7.8 million for the workhouse.
Last year, ArchCity Defenders, a local legal advocacy group, set up a hotline for reporting abuse in city prisons. They received hundreds of calls from detainees. Emanuel Powell, attorney at ArchCity Defenders, said there were consistent reports of people being “indiscriminately macedated by law enforcement officers, turned off water for punitive purposes,” and “a lot of people talked about being put in cells with whoever was.” shows signs for Covid. “