Why Rural America Matters for Prison Abolition

Workshop Information
Event Date: 
Thu, 06/24/2010 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Full Description: 

In the 1990s—during the height of prison construction—a prison was built in rural America every 15 days. Today, there are over 350 rural communities that house a state or federal prison and many more that house a jail or detention facility. However, criminal justice reform campaigns have primarily been situated in urban centers and, in many states, have faced fierce opposition from rural communities. Many rural communities depend on prisons for jobs, and the government has used this—despite numerous studies that demonstrate that prisons actually hurt the local economy and environment—to pit rural residents against urban communities. How do we organize in and with rural communities? This workshop will examine the urban-rural relationship implicit in the American prison industrial complex and what activists—from California to New York and in between—have been doing to mobilize rural residents to support de-incarceration and prevent prison and immigrant detention expansion. Panelists will share their success stories and critical analysis of the ways they have connected their work with environmental justice groups, farmers, economic developers, the media, prison families and immigrant communities.

Organizer Name: 
Lauren Melodia
First Sponsoring Organization Name: 
Center for Community Alternatives
Displacement, Migration and Immigration
Transformative Justice, Healing, and Organizing
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