For years, community members, led by our partners Action St. Louis and Arch City Defenders, have worked to close St. Louis’ dangerous medium security prison, the St. Louis Workhouse. The Workhouse has been a site of economic and racial violence for generations, a place where presumably innocent people, many of them Black and brown, are made to suffer in inhumane conditions. Residents being held for offences as minor as traffic tickets have lost their jobs, their homes, and even their lives while awaiting trial in the Workhouse.
On Juneteenth, MO JWJ members joined rallies and marches in downtown to mourn the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Michael Brown, and countless other Black people killed by law enforcement, as well to call for the Reimagining of Public Safety, including closing the Workhouse. On July 17, the Board of Alderman voted unanimously to close the Workhouse and Mayor Lyda Krewson signed Ordinance 71217. However, in the months since then, nothing has been done to ensure that the Workhouse will actually close – and as of January 2021 – the Workhouse remains open. We must continue to be vigilant and support the Close the Workhouse Campaign until City officials meet our demands.