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St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously votes on plan to close 'The Workhouse'

The board bill now goes to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson for final signature

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Board of Aldermen Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to approve Board Bill 92 Friday. The bill will provide legislation for a plan to close the medium-security jail known as, "The Workhouse."

Critics have argued the conditions at the facility have been inhumane.

Everyone at the facility is waiting for trial either out bail, or they can't afford it.

“I am so proud and thankful to all of the members of the Board of Aldermen for coming together to get this done. Without their work and the work of many in the community for several years, we wouldn’t be able to move this forward,” Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said. “This bill will be a catalyst to a defined and organized process to effectively and safely close the workhouse while allowing for the funding of needed resources that are lacking in our community.”

According to Reed's office, the bills will establish a division of supportive re-entry and a re-envisioning public safety fund. Additional social workers will be hired and assigned to detainees and assist them and their families.

“We've long held the belief that jails, prisons and police do not keep us safe-- investment in people and communities does. While today is a win for the people who have survived the Workhouse, and a big step for the entire campaign, we adamantly hold the belief that the Workhouse is irredeemable and should not be repurposed", Inex Bordeaux, Manager of Community Collaborations at ArchCity Defenders and Lead Organizer with the Close the Workhouse campaign said. 

"Further, we’ll remain vigilant to ensure another jail is not built in its place. It is time to do right by St. Louis and reinvest in communities that have been harmed by failed, racist systems like the Workhouse."

The board bill now goes to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson for final signature.

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