Today St. Louis City Budget Director Paul Payne presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. The new budget reflects one of the Mayor’s top priorities, to close the Medium Security Institution, more infamously known as the Workhouse.
“Since 2016, I have called for the closure of the Workhouse due to inhumane conditions, including broken plumbing, inadequate medical care, moldy food and contaminated water; not to mention a toxic culture of abuse, retaliation and neglect among correctional staff. The injustice caused by these dehumanizing conditions are compounded by the fact that most city detainees have not been convicted of any crime, with an average length of stay running longer than 300 days. I am proud to begin the process of divesting our city from our expensive arrest and incarcerate model, and pledge to shift time, energy and money towards a public safety strategy focused on addressing the root causes of violent crime.”
-Mayor Tishaura O. Jones
The roughly $7.8 million in savings from the closure of the Workhouse is proposed to be reallocated as follows:
- Approx. $4 million to balance the city’s budget
- Approx. $2 million kept in the budget for medical services and meals for detainees
- Approx. $1.8 million toward the Mayor’s priorities:
- $1.3 million toward the Division of Supportive Reentry, which will support social workers, case management, mental health services, childcare, and other wraparound services.
- $0.3 million for doubling the Civilian Oversight Board budget to increase the capacity of correctional investigators looking into acts of retaliation and neglect within St. Louis City jails.
- $.15 million for community visioning planning around improvements to the Workhouse, Municipal Courts, and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters.
The Board of E&A will hold a budget hearing open to public comment on Friday, April 23, at 10:00am. Those interested in making a comment should send an email no later than Thursday, April 22, at 12:00 noon, that includes their name, address, email contact address and a brief description of the topic to the Board of E&A Secretary, Ms. Stephanie Green, at GreenSte@stlouis-mo.gov; or call 314-622-4245 and leave a message with the above information.