We celebrated back in July 2020 when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted unanimously for a bill that instructed the city of St. Louis to come up with a plan to close the infamous Workhouse jail by December 31, 2020. It was a huge win for local organizers and all people in St. Louis who believe in justice.
But here we are well into 2021 and the “unspeakably hellish” Workhouse remains open. Why? Because elected officials have done nothing, nothing but delay and delay.
The generations of St. Louisans whose lives have been impacted by the racism and socioeconomic inequity that the Workhouse represents have waited far too long for justice. No more delays—it’s time to act. On April 6, St. Louis voters can do just that—by electing a mayor who will close the Workhouse immediately. Ready to make your voice heard?
What’s on the Ballot April 6?
The product of a racist criminal legal system that has criminalized being Black and being poor for centuries, the Workhouse is more than just a jail—it has become a symbol of white supremacy and anti-Blackness in St. Louis. Shutting it down gives the city a chance to reimagine public safety and health by taking the millions of dollars spent annually on the Workhouse and investing it in the community instead. The pandemic has hit Black and Brown communities disproportionately hard, revealing for all to see just how desperately that investment is needed.
People aren’t just voting for a mayor on April 6—a new, transformative vision of public safety, public health, and community building is also on the ballot.
A New Vision for St. Louis
What would a system that truly cared about the well-being of people and communities look like? A coalition of grassroots organizations in St. Louis created a four-part plan that gives us a really good idea.
- Re-Envision Public Safety: Keep communities safe by decriminalizing poverty and transforming responses to harm.
- Make St. Louis Home: Promote universal housing, environmental justice, and livability for all St. Louisans.
- Fund Our Future: Ensure equitable taxation and adequate funding for youth and education.
- Build an Inclusive Democracy: Ensure government transparency and maximize civic engagement.
A core part of that plan is closing the Workhouse. Instead of continuing to pour money into the ineffective and destructive “arrest and incarcerate” model of public safety, St. Louis can build trust and strengthen communities by investing in social services, housing, job training, counseling, childcare, and more.
Time to Vote!
The Board of Aldermen voted last July to close the Workhouse. Now it’s your turn to vote for a mayor who will finish the job.
The Workhouse, born of the old system that protected white supremacy and white wealth at the expense of everyone else, has no place in today’s St. Louis. On April 6, you can help make St. Louis a pro-Black, pro-justice city that cares for all of its people.
Here’s everything you need to get ready to vote!