Skip to main content

Video Transcript

I imagine St. Louis with no jails. For St. Louis I imagine parents at home with their children. And I imagine a St. Louis where our budget is a reflection of the
value that the city has for its people.

The Workhouse also known as the Medium Security Institution is a jail in St. Louis City that was formerly used for people to work off a debt. And that’s why it is called the Workhouse. It is currently used for people who have low-level crimes. So they are sitting in jail usually for bonds of a few hundred dollars or less because they’re not able to pay that.

I imagine the Black and Brown people of this city thriving and prospering. That means a decarcerated city, more investment into mental health and educational opportunities, and public spaces where kids can play.

I imagine peace. Peace and prosperity in my city. That’s what I imagine for St. Louis.

The majority of the people in the Workhouse have not been convicted of a crime,
therefore they should not be housed here. They should not be staying here.

The Bail Project’s St. Louis team shares their vision and hopes for their city. One of our team’s primary goals had been closing the “Workhouse,” a jail used to hold people on pretrial for low-level offenses. The Workhouse began operating in 1996. It received its name due to its inhumane conditions, such as inadequate food, forced labor, and debt bondage.

Update: When we created this film, the Workhouse was still fully functioning. In 2021, after organizing efforts from the local community in coalition with The Bail Project, the Workhouse was finally closed! 

Thank you for engaging with our content. People like you make a better world possible – a world where justice is not determined by someone’s wealth. The Bail Project is not only an immediate lifeline for people held on unaffordable cash bail, but a growing megaphone for public education and social change. If you have the means and found value in our content, please consider becoming a donor today.

a woman wearing a black suit and a necklace against a transparent background
Director of Creative and Marketing

Shannon Soper

As the Director of Creative and Marketing, Soper oversees all aspects of The Bail Project’s marketing strategy and content development and is responsible for accelerating systems change through brand recognition and public education nationwide. Since joining the organization in 2018, she has driven web, video, and social media innovation, cultivating an in-house creative team and establishing the Creative and Marketing Department. Soper has over a decade of leadership in nonprofit strategic communications, having served as Communications Director at Dignity and Power Now and as College Campaigns Strategist for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A champion for expanding access to digital assets for activists and movements, Soper founded her own company in 2016 to provide subsidized web development and creative multimedia to disadvantaged organizations. She began her advocacy career leading teams on the ground, furthering public awareness on large scale concert tours and creating institutional change at over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. Her public speaking, writing, photography, video, and web features have been featured by a wide range of outlets, including USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR.