ST. LOUIS — Local leaders and criminal justice reformers are calling on the city of St. Louis to close down the Medium Security Institution commonly referred to as 'The Workhouse'.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, members of the Close the Workhouse campaign showed their report supporting the closure of the jail.
Leaders supporting the closure of 'The Workhouse' include Treasurer Tishaura Jones Comptroller Darlene Green, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, State Senator Jamilah Nasheed and eight members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
At the press conference, three members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen — Dan Guenther, Cara Spencer and Jesse Todd — announced a resolution to start the closure process and redirect the funds elsewhere.
This is not the first time there have been calls for 'The Workhouse' to close. In 2017, then-Missouri State Rep. Josh Peters called for the facility to close due to poor conditions. The city made improvements in the following months and allowed tours of the facility in March of 2018.
Mayor Lyda Krewson is not among the leaders who support closing 'The Workhouse'. Her office provided the following statement in reaction to Tuesday's press conference:
Over the last three years, this Administration has invested more than $5.5 million in MSI to vastly improve the facility, which was recently toured by a state grand jury who called MSI “professionally run, clean and transformed.” The City does not currently have the capacity to close it based on our current detainee population, which includes almost exclusively individuals on serious felony charges that the state has deemed necessary to be held.