The Workhouse is part and parcel of a racialized system of mass incarceration that grew directly out of slavery and Jim Crow and works to perpetuate this shameful legacy in America. The story of the Workhouse illustrates this oppressive history. The demands proposed by the campaign aim to limit harms of mass incarceration, without legitimizing or justifying the continued caging of people as punishment. The Close the Workhouse campaign emerges from the outcry that was the Ferguson Uprising. It’s grounded in a commitment to end an ongoing war against Black people that has been waged against generations of families in St. Louis. Our aim is not to reform but to deconstruct a racist system that has destroyed lives and to abolish the practice of criminalizing the poor. We embrace this task in order to vindicate the victims of the Workhouse and to secure future generations’ ability to thrive. This report is a collaboration of the individuals subjected to incarceration at the Workhouse and lawyers and activists engaged on the issue. Help us share the report and plan throughout impacted communities in St. Louis.
The organizations at the core of the campaign are Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), The Bail Project, ACTION STL, and Arch City Defenders (Fiscal sponsor)