With the civil death of incarceration comes zombie labor to reproduce the mass entombment of prisoners. Key to this endeavor is ensuring that prisoners are fed, and the state offsets confinement costs. Commonly throughout the United States this entails requiring that prisoners work in different kinds of agriculture, whether in the form of work detail or education. What makes agriculture unique as a cheap and often free source of labor is its disciplinary malleability. Prison officials, prison reformers, and academics often couch their interpretation of agriculture in terms of supposed benefits. Increasing work ethic and cost savings, reducing idleness, and offering a means for therapy are just a few of the common explanations for why prisons have agricultural activities.
This interactive ArcGIS map presents data from a first ever nationwide study of prison agriculture in the United States and places it within local socioeconomic, demographic, and agricultural contexts. The map provides an opportunity to critically interrogate a set of fairly hidden practices and unpack the carceral consequences and conditions surrounding food, animal, and plant production in prisons.
Interactive map coming soon!