St. Louis County Justice Center | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Justice Center

St. Louis County jail
File photo

Internal affairs investigators concluded that St. Louis County jail staff repeatedly didn’t listen to inmates who said they were sick and could have done more to treat the men before they died while in custody last year.

The investigators criticized the jail staff’s actions in the days and hours before the inmates died, according to reports that were released by the county this week. 

The internal affairs investigators wrote that the jail’s nurses and correctional officers responded to one inmate’s health crisis “without a sense of urgency” and violated another inmate’s “right to health care” by not responding to his medical needs.

Raul Banasco, director of St. Louis County's Department of Justice Services, poses for a portrait in his office.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Raul Banasco has dealt with a host of vexing challenges during his 32-year tenure as a corrections officer, including prisoners dying by suicide and others escaping. 

Those experiences may be some of the reasons he felt ready to take on the high-pressure task of becoming director of the St. Louis County Department of Justice Services.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page hired Banasco last month. The New York native is the department’s first permanent director in nearly two years. His tenure begins months after several inmates died in the county jail.

St. Louis County is interested in joining a statewide eletronic monitoring program for people awaiting trial once Missouri gets it up and running.
FIle photo | Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County has suspended three jail employees following the death of a fourth inmate this year.

Daniel Stout died last week, hours after being transferred to the state prison in Bonne Terre. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported he was denied medical care while at the jail.

The suspensions were part of a series of changes in the Department of Justice Services that St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced Tuesday.

On April 17, 2019, Tashonda Troupe speaks to St. Louis County Councilmembers about her son's death. Lamar Catchings, 20, was found dead in his cell in early March. The autopsy report states that he died of leukemia.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Council held the first of two hearings Tuesday concerning the regulations and procedures for detainees at the St. Louis County jail. The hearings come in response to the deaths of three inmates this year.

Council members listened to testimony from advocates and family members of Lamar Catchings, 20, an inmate who died of leukemia in March.

The St. Louis County Council approved three charter amendments earlier this month. One would provide the council with more authority over the county budget.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is panning an effort to give the County Council more budgetary authority.

If Stenger vetoes the measure, the council is prepared to override the Democratic chief executive — setting up a showdown at the ballot box later this fall.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is refusing to go along with legislation providing raises in the Justice Center — which includes the jail.

At issue is whether nurses that work in the Justice Center should get raises from a half-cent sales tax known as Proposition P.