What started out as a viral video exposing the poor conditions detainees were facing inside St. Louis’ Medium Security Institution — also known as the Workhouse — has turned into a three-year-long effort to shut it down. In 2017, activists and civil rights organizations Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders and Bail Project St. Louis began pursuing calls to action to close it.
The facility largely houses people who have not been convicted of a crime and cannot afford bail. Conditions inside have reportedly included black mold, dangerously high and low temperatures, moldy food and “rats as big as cats.”
The city has since invested in renovating the facility, but this week, the Close the Workhouse campaign announced its relaunch with a newly updated report. And now, it has a new ally.