St. Louis County jail advisory board renews call for outside review as employee survey criticizes former director | Law and order

St. Louis County jail advisory board renews call for outside review as employee survey criticizes former director | Law and order


Jeff Smith, chairman of the advisory board, said the Vera Causa report could be a helpful benchmark for an outside investigation, but the board still wants an experienced national group to investigate and help guide reforms.

“I don’t want to let this slide,” Smith said during the meeting. “I’d like to do something broader, something that really gives us a beacon, a kind of a guidepost that we can shoot for.”

Board member Mary Zabawa Taylor, who was the first to call for an outside review after Banasco’s resignation, said a formal request for proposals would ensure that an experienced, independent group would take charge of the review.

But she expressed doubt the county would act on the board’s request. The seven-member advisory board, she said, has had to fight for access and information, leading board members to question whether they had a real role in reforming the jail.

“Someone needs to come in who is not a consulting firm known by the county,” she said. “It truly is an RFP process that would bring us an unstinting, clear-eyed view of what is going on.”

A spokesman for Page said Friday that the county executive supports an outside review of the jail but did not specifically address the suggested request for proposals.

“Dr. Page agrees that a comprehensive review of the Justice Center is in order and we are going to start that process,” spokesman Doug Moore said.



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