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The hidden subsidies of rural prisons

Walker, Hannah L., Rebecca U. Thorpe, Emily K. Christensen, and J. P. Anderson. "The hidden subsidies of rural prisons: Race, space and the politics of cumulative disadvantage." Punishment & Society, vol. 19, no. 4, 2017, pp. 393-416.

This paper links the rise of a punitive punishment regime that disproportionately targets poor, urban minorities and the increasing use of rural spaces to warehouse prisoners. Preliminary evidence from a unique dataset across three states suggests that housing large, institutionalized prison populations inflates population counts in otherwise shrinking rural areas and operates as a hidden subsidy for rural counties with prison infrastructure. Prisons contribute to the immediate economic viability of predominantly white, lower class rural areas, despite devastating costs borne elsewhere.