Unlucky Seven

Faced with an unprecedented rash of inmate suicides, St. Louis was slow to respond. Now there's a new jailhouse boss in town.

JoAnn Williams, who has represented jailers since 1986, is skeptical that Schriro will make a difference. "She's left and returned, and the condition of the facility is the same," she says.

Ed Bushmeyer, who took over as the city's public-safety director after Francis Slay became mayor, says he talked to Schriro about the suicides before hiring her. "He's very concerned," Schriro says. "We're both really committed to protecting the [inmate] population, as well as the staff." Besides suicides, Schriro is worried about a certain security problem in the workhouse, which she says she won't identify, at least until the problem is solved. Reducing the inmate population is also on her agenda. "The challenge is to earn public trust and maintain it over the long haul," she says.

But Schriro and other city officials will have to work hard to win the Lloyd's trust.

Jennifer Silverberg
Guards on break at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, 7600 Hall St.
Jennifer Silverberg
Guards on break at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, 7600 Hall St.

"I'm not money-hungry or whatever, but I think people don't change unless you start making them pay financially," Loretta Lloyd says. "I'm going to pursue it. For my child and other people's children, you can't treat them like that, even though they've done things to be incarcerated."

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