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

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

(p.163) Eight Bringing Down the Big House: The Political Economy of Prison Proliferation
Big House on the Prairie

John M. Eason

University of Chicago Press

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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