‘A hopeless place’: St Louis workhouse denounced as a modern-day debtors’ prison

Inez Bordeaux, who was once incarcerated in St Louis’s Medium Security Institution known as the workhouse, is an organizer fighting for the facility to be closed. Photograph: Sid Hastings for the Guardian

Inez Bordeaux was at times left broke, homeless, and living in a halfway house over the years of unpleasant interactions with the criminal justice system in St Louis, Missouri. But the only time she ever felt hopeless was during the month she was incarcerated in the city’s infamous “workhouse” jail in 2016.

“I might not come out on the other side of this,” Bordeaux recalled thinking to herself. Her first three days were spent in solitary confinement after staff witnessed her crying, and deemed her a suicide risk.

“They took all my clothes and gave me a suicide smock, I couldn’t call anyone, talk to anyone, or read anything,” Bordeaux said.

A registered nurse and mother of four, Bordeaux was being held in the workhouse on a technical probation violation. Like 98% of inmates there, she was legally innocent but Bordeaux was being detained pre-trial because she couldn’t afford her $25,000 bail.

he describes the rest of her month in the workhouse as full of black mold, rats and blocked toilets churning up fetid waste. She was denied any outdoors time and basic feminine hygiene products.

“I say all the time that the workhouse is a hopeless place,” Bordeaux said. “When you first walk in you can feel the hopelessness. You can feel the desperation.”

read more at UK Guardian



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  1. Charity with strings attached in a fake-Christian society. Real Christians would not allow a single person to be without shelter or food. More reminiscent of the slaving Vikings.

  2. This issue is a total national disgrace and disaster but how often do you read about it in the lying propaganda media? Many of the problems revolve around the fact that drugs have not been legalized and regulated because our own federal government is making good money selling them, stolen from foreign countries like Afghanistan. John Z and the others are totally correct. Our country is a lying corrupt cesspool today and going down very quickly now, run by the criminal thugs and gangsters in Israel. Read the article “Let Those Dopers Be” by former 34 year police veteran Norm Stamper. Most police departments, district attorneys and courts are totally corrupt. Lying lawyers have been running the show in America for decades. They are the problem. Stop idolizing lying lawyers. Demand they be banned from public jobs. Even the current Supreme Court position should have an ordinary citizen not a lying lawyer appointed to the court. Lying lawyers have bad reputations going back centuries. Stop idolizing these whores and thugs. Congress has also sold out by its dismal failure to reform the prison and injustice systems.

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