Alderman proposes closing St. Louis Workhouse; Krewson, Reed not in favor

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ST. LOUIS – On Friday, 9th Ward Alderman Dan Guenther introduced a resolution to the Board of Aldermen calling for the closure of the St. Louis Medium Security Institution – more commonly known as “the Workhouse.”

Those in favor of closing the Workhouse say conditions in the jail are not up to standard for housing inmates. They believe the $16 million spent operating the Workhouse could be put to better use elsewhere in the budget.

Guenther says Workhouse inmates can be safely moved to the city’s downtown jail.

His resolution calls for aldermen to vote against the entire city budget if it contains any money for the Workhouse.

However, Mayor Lyda Krewson opposes closing the Workhouse right now.

In a statement, her spokesman said, “Based on the current detainee population in the City of St Louis the capacity does not exist to fully shutter MSI.

“The city continues to actively work toward its long-term goal of operating only one correctional facility.”

The mayor is not the only one opposing the Workhouse closure at the moment. Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed says it would be a mistake for aldermen not to vote for the budget.

According to Reed, they would be shooting themselves in the foot because the city charter says the city budget would become law anyway if the aldermen voted against it.

In spite of that, Alderman Guenther is determined to push forward with the resolution ever in the face of those concerns. The resolution will next be discussed by the full board.

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