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Date

4-30-2020

Description

Current research on the impact that prisons have on social, political, and economic life in "prison towns" shows that the presence of prisons is linked to racial and class inequality in those towns. However, the common idea of what constitutes a prison town remains fairly rigid —a prison town, as its name suggests, is a town with a prison in it. This working definition, however, limits our ability to see how the same carceral logics that govern social, economic, and political life in prison towns might also apply to other places not directly associated with [a] prison. Using Rochester, New York as its focus due to its unique positioning at the heart of the western New York prison hub, this research reimagines what it means to be a "prison town" by examining how the carceral system makes its way into places both near to and far from the physical site of prisons. The main questions that this research asks are: how does incarceration impact families and communities in Rochester and its surrounding areas; what services are needed for those impacted by incarceration; where and how are carceral logics embedded in the city of Rochester? Using participant observation, structured interviews, and focus groups, this aims to identify if and how Rochester acts as a prison town and to what degree it is governed by similar carceral logics as its neighboring prison towns.

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Apr 30th, 12:00 AM

Reimagining Boundaries of the Carceral State: How is Rochester a Prison Town?

Current research on the impact that prisons have on social, political, and economic life in "prison towns" shows that the presence of prisons is linked to racial and class inequality in those towns. However, the common idea of what constitutes a prison town remains fairly rigid —a prison town, as its name suggests, is a town with a prison in it. This working definition, however, limits our ability to see how the same carceral logics that govern social, economic, and political life in prison towns might also apply to other places not directly associated with [a] prison. Using Rochester, New York as its focus due to its unique positioning at the heart of the western New York prison hub, this research reimagines what it means to be a "prison town" by examining how the carceral system makes its way into places both near to and far from the physical site of prisons. The main questions that this research asks are: how does incarceration impact families and communities in Rochester and its surrounding areas; what services are needed for those impacted by incarceration; where and how are carceral logics embedded in the city of Rochester? Using participant observation, structured interviews, and focus groups, this aims to identify if and how Rochester acts as a prison town and to what degree it is governed by similar carceral logics as its neighboring prison towns.