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Repurposing Prisons Can Revitalize Rural America

Above Photo: Prison with iron fences. Getty.

Over 21 states have closed prisons since 2000.

Yet without plans to repurpose prison buildings, many revert to correctional facilities.

The economic fortunes of rural communities across the United States are often deeply intertwined with the prison industrial complex. This poses a real challenge to the project of ending mass incarceration. How can organizers build political opposition to prisons in areas where prisons are the lifeblood of a community? And what should be done with former prisons once they are closed? The question of repurposing prisons in particular is too often neglected by state governments. A new report  from the Sentencing Project finds that while 21 states have closed prisons since 2000, many of these sites have simply become other types of correctional facilities in the absence of clear transition plans. Nicole Porter  from the Sentencing Project joins Rattling the Bars  to discuss this new report.

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