Victory For People Working To Close An Infamous Facility

Close The Workhouse Debtors Prison rally
William Anderson
August 6, 2020

Debtors' prisons still exist. In places like Jackson, Mississippi, and St. Louis, Missouri, these places lock people into cells, forcing them to work off impossible debts. “The Workhouse” is a terrible debtors' prison in St. Louis that will finally meet the fate it truly deserves.

98% of the people locked away toiling in the Workhouse haven’t been proven guilty. Even more telling of what this is truly about, less than 50% of St. Louis is Black, but 90% of the people held in this prison are. Fed up, Black activists sprung into action to address this crisis.

Prison abolitionist organizers led a full-fledged campaign to #CloseTheWorkhouse. Since they’re prison abolitionists, they demanded no new jail in its place. Instead, they wanted to fight community issues on the front end based on what we know: prisons don’t work. And they won!

The campaign demanded “reinvestment of the money used to cage poor people and Black people into rebuilding the most impacted neighborhoods in this region.” Thanks to their hard work and years of fighting, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has unanimously agreed to close the Workhouse.

The successful #CloseTheWorkhouse campaign shows what we’re capable of. It’s inspiring to see people rejecting the idea that prisons and police keep us safe when we know they cause our people harm. We have the power to say no more and end the unacceptable.

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