A woman was trapped on a stairwell in the St. Louis Justice Center for more than 2 days

St. Louis City Justice Center.

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St. Louis City Justice Center.
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  • A woman was released from custody at the St. Louis City Justice Center at 8:17 a.m. on June 5. She was found locked in a stairwell in the building two days later, on June 7, at 6:32 p.m.
  • Commissioner Dale Glass told the St. Louis Dispatch that the woman “appeared to be OK,” was seen by a nurse and paramedics, and went home.
  • He said the woman had been told how to leave the building after being released from jail, but made a wrong turn and ended up in a fire exit stairwell.
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A woman who had just been released from jail was trapped on a stairwell in the St. Louis City Justice Center for more than two days after getting lost on her way out of the building.

Commissioner Dale Glass told the St. Louis Dispatch that a woman was released from custody at 8:17 a.m. on June 5. She wasn’t found in the stairwell until 6:32 p.m. on June 7.

Glass said the woman “appeared to be OK,” was seen by a nurse and paramedics, and went home.

He said that when she was released, staff told the woman how to get out of the building: “Go down the hall to the elevator. Go down to the first floor, make a right turn. Walk out of jail; you’re free to go.”

Instead, Glass said, the woman got into the elevator and pressed all of the buttons. She ended up on the fifth floor, went through a fire exit door to a stairwell and was subsequently locked inside.

The door could only be unlocked by staff, and its alarm had been disabled during building work.

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Although the woman made noise, staff couldn’t find her because she moved from floor to floor and they didn’t search the fire exit stairwell, Glass said.

She was finally found on June 7 when an employee saw her looking through a window on one of the stairwell’s doors.

Glass said the jail has changed its protocols to have staff escort people out of the building.

It is unclear why the woman had been arrested.

“We’re really sorry that this occurred, and we put precautions in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Glass told the Dispatch. “We never had this happen before.”

According to its website, the St. Louis Justice Center is six stories tall and can hold 860 inmates.

The building opened in 2002.