St. Louis County picks new advisory board after recent jail inmate deaths

St. Louis County executive looking for jail reform ideas

Brad Choat
June 20, 2019 - 8:40 pm
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CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) - As promised, the county executive is making six recommendations for St. Louis County's new Justice Services Advisory Board.

Following the deaths of several inmates in the county jail since January, Sam Page told the county council Tuesday night that three staffers had been suspended, and he was finalizing a list of appointees for the advisory board.

"We can do better, and we will do better," Page said.

His appointees include:

  • Rev. Phillip Duvall, social justice commissioner for Missionary Baptist State Convention of Missouri
  • Dr. Alexander Garza, Chief Medical Officer at SSM Health & former CMO of US Department of Homeland Security
  • Twyla Lee, educator who works with "Color of Change" civil rights group
  • Timothy McBride, Washington University professor of social work & chair of MO HealthNet Oversight Committee for Missouri Social Services Dept.
  • Jeff Smith, former Missouri State Senator who wrote book about time spent in prison
  • Mary Zabawa Taylor, volunteer in criminal justice ministry for St. Louis County Justice Center

"These appointees are professional, thoughtful, and diverse," Page said in a release. "We will look to this board for advice and counsel. And I will expect them to listen to our diverse community in formulating their reports."

Page said several changes have already been made at the county jail since he took over as county executive, and he's hopeful additional reforms will be suggested by the panel.

The list of appointees must be approved by the county council.