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Bringing Down the Big House: The Political Economy of Prison Proliferation

Bringing Down the Big House: The Political Economy of Prison Proliferation

Chapter:
(p.163) Eight Bringing Down the Big House: The Political Economy of Prison Proliferation
Source:
Big House on the Prairie
Author(s):
John M. Eason
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226410487.003.0008

In conclusion, I discuss the theoretical and policy implications of prison proliferation. As for prison abolitionists and other criminal justice activists, this study provides a bridge to potential new allies in the fight against prison expansion. Prison activists generally work in underserved, disadvantaged urban neighborhoods that routinely experience prisoner reentry, but not the disadvantaged rural communities where prisons are primarily located, which also experience high levels of prisoner reentry. The positive benefits of prison building for rural towns of color complicates the campaign to end mass imprisonment and prison proliferation. Lastly, I discuss the future of social scientific research on prison towns and disadvantage. The discursive connection between rural and urban microlevel community functions of stigma and disadvantage suggest that we reestablish a rural/urban continuum. We must return to rural communities as a central site for investigating systems of race, punishment, and disadvantage.

Keywords:   rural urban continuum, prison abolition, spatial inequality

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