But the new facility was supposed to be different.
Mayor Slay sent out a tweet Friday morning that said: "No, prisoners should not be able to climb out of the front window of a maximum security jail."
Rainford, his chief of staff, said: "This was not some master-minded scheme. This was one knuckle-headed corrections officer."
A few hours after the escape was detected early Friday, passersby stood along Tucker and watched as a firefighter used a ladder truck to get close enough to the window to take photographs.
Some type of dark cloth tied with rope dangled from the second floor window. Stubblefield said it was bedsheets. The cloth dangles about 15 feet to a balcony area. From there, it is another 30 feet or so from that landing to the ground below.
The jail is run by the city's Public Safety Department. St. Louis Police Capt. Sam Dotson said police are reviewing video surveillance to see if anyone helped the inmates escape.
The escapees were being held on a long list of charges.
Collins was being held on first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, first-degree assault, resisting arrest and disarming a peace or correctional officer. White was being held for first-degree burglary, second-degree domestic assault, unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree property damage.
Stubblefield, the corrections chief, was clearly irritated by what he described as the officer's lack of action. He said there are only two ways for escape -- to walk out the front door, or for corrections staff simply not to be watching the inmates.
Rainford said Stubblefield has reason to be upset.
"He is pissed, and he should be pissed," Rainford said. "If you hear a ruckus, maybe you should investigate it. It's really that simple."