Viral video shows inmates screaming for help from inside the St Louis Workhouse in 100 degree weather
Derk Brown posted the video to his Facebook page of inmates screaming help us to the people outside
The majority of the prison has no air conditioning as a dangerous heat wave approaches St Louis
State Representative Joshua Peters said the Workhouse has “deplorable” and “unhealthy” conditions
An emergency protest is happening outside the prison on Friday at 7:00 pm
There is no question that America’s prison system is a mess. Instead of rehabilitating inmates and teaching them the skills they need to be a functioning part of society, the main focus has become punishment, which at times pushes the boundaries of human rights.
In St Louis, Missouri, a viral video shows the outside of the St Louis Workhouse, a medium security prison, as inmates inside scream for help. The video was posted to the Facebook account of St Louis resident turned journalist Derk Brown.
In the video, inmates can be heard screaming “Help us!” through the windows. They can also be heard yelling that they have no air conditioning as witnesses are forced to watch from the other side of the fence helplessly.
A letter from State Representative Joshua Peters to the Missouri House of Representatives gives a deeper look at how bad the conditions inside the St Louis Workhouse truly are. In the letter, Peters writes that the Workhouse is in “deplorable” and “unsanitary health conditions.” Peters goes on to claim that he witnessed mold in the cafeteria and infestations of insects and vermin.
The Workhouse is owned by the City of St Louis. However, many of the prisoners inside either face state charges or are awaiting trial on state charges, according to Peters. Peters ends his letter by requesting the Missouri House to investigate the Workhouse.
St Louis Workhouse
The Workhouse is a two-story building that was built in 1966 still lacking air conditioning throughout most of the building. It was reported to hold 770 prisoners last month. Due to the deplorable conditions of the building, Workhouse has been the center of debate for years as many have pushed for the facility to be closed down.
After Brown’s video went viral, an emergency protest has been announced for Friday evening at 7:00 pm outside of the jail. The protest comes at the same time as a dangerous heat wave prepares to fall upon the City of St Louis, causing concern for the inmate’s well-being. Temperatures will be breaking 100 degrees for days straight. The call to action posted to Its Going Down reads as follows:
Join us for an emergency protest against current heatwave conditions of the St. Louis Workhouse (a medium security jail) on Friday the 21st at 7 pm. Bring pots and pans to bang on, or anything that will make a loud noise so folks can hear us. It’s going to be hot, but it’s the least we can do to support folks on the inside who are even hotter. BRING WATER. PARK AT THATCHER AND HALL ST.
Our family, friends and others who are currently locked up awaiting trial or serving short sentences in the Workhouse are right now inside a literal tinder box because of the heat wave. Temperatures are reaching 105-115 inside and there is no air conditioning or ice to cool folks down. They are literally screaming for help from the windows. The city refuses to help, seeing those inside as merely expendable. If they’re hot, we’re hot too!
Shut down the workhouse, the torture has gone on long enough. The jails and prisons we so often find ourselves in are created to keep the poor separated. Breaking up families, gouging us out of our hard earned money that we give to our loved ones commissary so they can buy overpriced necessities inside, etc.
The disparity of those who do and do not go to jail most often falls along the line of race and class. You rarely see the rich in such torture chambers. Those who can’t afford bail are left to cook inside, sometimes waiting years to see trial. These types of jails and prisons they lock us up in originate from the same people who would of justified slavery in the 1800s. Let’s break the separation and let people know on the inside that we aren’t gonna just forget them.