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Protest calls for closing of Workhouse jail

Madison Jones, 5, holds a sign in front of a crowd of people gathered for a protest on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 outside St. Louis City Hall where organizers called for closing the Workhouse jail in St. Louis and taking the budget savings from closing the jail and investing it in other programs the protesters feel will improve the community. Photo by David Carson,

Regarding “Debunking the myths behind ‘close the Workhouse’ movement” (Sept. 3): If the Post-Dispatch wants to pretend it is debunking myths, it should note that, although the Workhouse jail is not the sole driving force behind violent crime, it certainly is a contributor.

Many people in the Workhouse are being held because they cannot afford bail. This disrupts families, causes lost jobs, and destabilizes already distressed communities. For what? Certainly not because those persons are violent.

There could be room enough at the Justice Center and in other regional facilities; no one wants non-rehabilitated violent felons released into our communities. Fear mongering, the Post-Dispatch cites a poor example in which the man has not even been charged with the described crime. Anyway, he would be in the Justice Center and is irrelevant.

I believe the newspaper is dead wrong about financial incentives. Yes, the cost of housing federal prisoners is more than the daily allowance received. But not mentioned is the estimated $8 million annual dollars in federal compensation for transporting those prisoners.

The Post-Dispatch ignores the "Close the Workhouse" movement’s main contention concerning crime: the $16 million saved from closing the facility could be better invested in neighborhoods where poverty is one of the root causes of crime.

Your “debunking” is bunk.

John Chasnoff • University City