City's public safety director refutes claim St. Louis would save $16M by shutting down Workhouse

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ST. LOUIS - The top man in St. Louis city's public safety department says shutting down the Medium Security Institution (more commonly known as "the Workhouse") would put the public at risk.

FOX 2 investigator Elliott Davis sat down with Public Safety Director Jimmie Edward to discuss calls from activists and some city aldermen to shut down the workhouse. They claim conditions inside are inhumane and say the city can save $16 million by shutting it down.

Activists and some aldermen say the 238 inmates can be moved to the Justice Center downtown but Edwards says the conditions are not inhumane, and the city wouldn’t save $16 million by closing the workhouse.

Edwards noted that the Justice Center would have the same expenses if you moved the inmates from one building to another, along with the need for extra staff.

He pointed to the city’s need to incarcerate dangerous felons and without the workhouse, it wouldn't have the space that is needed.

Alderman Dan Guenther thinks the city can safely shut down the workhouse. He has a resolution that calls on aldermen to vote against the entire city budget if it has money for the workhouse included.

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