ST. LOUIS (AP)—A lawsuit filed Monday alleges inmates at a medium-security jail in St. Louis live in “inhumane conditions” that include rodent feces in food, infestations of bugs and snakes, and unbearable overcrowding.
The nonprofit ArchCity Defenders filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of seven former inmates seeking monetary damages and closure of the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, known as the Workhouse.
The St. Louis mayor’s office said the jail is inspected multiple times each year by the city Health Department and problems are addressed as they arise. Spokesman Koran Addo said preventative maintenance is also regularly conducted at the jail, which opened in the 1960s.
“I felt like I was treated like a dog. Dogs get treated better, to tell you the truth.”Among those filing suit was 43-year-old James Cody of Jefferson City, who was jailed for eight months this year on a probation violation. He said he often found mouse feces in cake served at the jail. Jail staff would simply scrape off the feces, he said.
James Cody, Jefferson City
Cody said he was housed in a dorm with 69 other men, all sharing a single working toilet, sink and shower. He recalled the heat of summer, when temperatures inside the jail reached 125 degrees, according to the lawsuit. The hot conditions led to July protests that resulted in city officials temporarily bringing in portable air conditioners.
“I felt like I was treated like a dog,” Cody said at a news conference before correcting himself. “Dogs get treated better, to tell you the truth.”