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Judge grants limited 'emergency inspection' of workhouse air temperatures

Judge grants limited 'emergency inspection' of workhouse air temperatures

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ST. LOUIS — A federal judge presiding over a lawsuit claiming inadequate conditions at the Medium Security Institution on Friday granted the plaintiffs' lawyers access to measure air temperatures inside the Hall Street jail.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig's order allows two lawyers representing inmates who sued St. Louis in 2017 up to one hour inside the jail, informally known as the workhouse, on Tuesday or Wednesday to collect temperature readings inside one or more cells. The plaintiffs' lawyers are also allowed to interview only their own clients during the visit.

The nonprofit ArchCity Defenders law firm represents seven former inmates who claimed St. Louis officials have ignored "hellish and inhumane conditions" at the workhouse for years.

Some St. Louis Justice Center inmates were moved to the workhouse after a riot last weekend at the downtown jail. On Thursday, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the workhouse lawsuit had petitioned for an "emergency inspection" of the workhouse affording unrestricted access to all areas and records of air temperatures in cells since since Nov. 1.

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