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Activists push for closure of Workhouse

ST. LOUIS – Hundreds marked this Independence Day by calling on officials to close St. Louis’ Medium Security Jail, more commonly known as “the Workhouse.”

The group Close the Workhouse rallied Wednesday morning in front of the City Justice Center downtown as a parade celebrating the Fourth of July took place a block away.

Among those who spoke at the rally were people who have been incarcerated at the Workhouse on Hall Street in north city.

Rally organizers described conditions inside the Workhouse as “hellish” and want it closed as soon as possible.

“I would call them inhumane. And I would say they’re that not just so inhumane that people can over them immediately upon release. The conditions are such that they reach into the psyche of anyone who experiences them,” said Michelle Higgins, the campaign’s lead organizer.

Organizers believe too many are jailed overall in St. Louis, especially poor people.

The group said it will present city leaders—including Mayor Krewson—with a plan on why the workhouse should be closed and what their suggestions are moving forward.