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Big House on the PrairieRise of the Rural Ghetto and Prison Proliferation$
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John M. Eason

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226410203

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226410487.001.0001

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Have You Seen My Backyard? Rural Ecology, Disrepute, and Prison Placement

Have You Seen My Backyard? Rural Ecology, Disrepute, and Prison Placement

(p.23) Two Have You Seen My Backyard? Rural Ecology, Disrepute, and Prison Placement
Big House on the Prairie

John M. Eason

University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, the Please in My Backyard (PIMBY) question posed in the opening chapter is reframed by asking, “Have you seen my backyard?” This chapter explores the potential motivations behind prison placement in rural communities by focusing on the role of stigma in defining a town’s identity. In underscoring events that affected Forrest City’s reputation, including the rape trial of Wayne Dumond, the curious case of Sheriff Conlee, and a manufacturing worker’s strike where racists signs were prominently displayed, we can see how stigma builds in rural communities. Each of these infamous cases in Forrest City made national headlines news often casting the town in prominent, and unflattering light. These events, along with several other community changes, serve the impetus for the Forrest City leadership to seek a prison.

Keywords:   NIMBY, stigma, Wayne Dumond, Sheriff Conlee

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