St. Louis' City Justice Center is in the midst of crisis again, with people being held at the jail revolting once more on Sunday after complaints about disastrous conditions and de facto indefinite detentions went unresolved. 

People held at the jail broke windows, set fires and took other measures to bring the spotlight back to their plight, according to local outlet KMOV4. Sunday's uprising comes nearly two months after another revolt took place at the jail on Feb. 6. 

One of the biggest complaints people have is that their court dates are being pushed back and not rescheduled, forcing them to spend months in the jail during a deadly pandemic that has ravaged prison populations across the country. More than 900 people are held at the jail and some were moved to a medium security prison after the revolt. 

Those on the ground heard the men screaming “we need help” and “we want court dates,” according to St. Louis Public Radio. 


St. Louis Public Radio quoted ArchCity Defenders Executive Director and lawyer Blake Strode, who noted on Twitter that the average number of days before a probable cause hearing is 146 and the average total days people were spending at the City Justice Center was 344 before someone went to trial. 

"I guess because when you have two disgusting, scandalous jails, neither one can survive on its own?" Strode wrote on Twitter.

"If anything, this is yet another reflection of how this practice of mass caging has failed and continues to fail all of us. It's more urgent than ever to close one of these two hellholes NOW and put that time, energy, and money to good use in our communities," he added. 

This is the second time that the City Justice Center, located in downtown St. Louis, has faced a revolt over the unconscionable conditions that detained people have to live with, according to CBS News.

KMOV reporters got video of people in the jail throwing things out of the window on the jail's third floor and setting fires while screaming out to people on the ground for help. 

The news outlet reported that the city has delayed many court hearings because of COVID-19 but that they heard more than 12 inmates at the jail yelling to receive a court date. 

St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts told KMOV that 60 people incarcerated at the jail had gotten out of their cells but that no guards were injured. 

Director of Public Safety for the city, Judge Jimmie Edward, resigned on March 31, and Betts astonishingly told the news outlet he did not know who would replace him. 

When a reporter asked Betts who was in charge of getting the jail under control, he said, "I guess I am."

Realizing how that sounded, the city later released a statement to KMOV saying Deputy Public Safety Director Charlene Deeken and Mayor Lyda Krewson are in charge of the effort to regain order. 

A city spokesperson later said "detainees became non-compliant, covered security cameras, smashed windows and destroyed property."

Betts confirmed that about 60 people detained at the jail got out of their cells in this instance.