WCPC Seminar – April 21 :Rebecca Thorpe, “Urban Divestment, Rural Decline & the Politics of Mass Incarceration”

West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC) Seminar ???

“Urban Divestment, Rural Decline & the Politics of Mass Incarceration”

Rebecca Thorpe
Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Department of Political

Monday, April 21st
Parrington Hall Commons, Room 308
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Q & A until 2:00 p.m.

This paper examines the political consequences of rural prison development
in the United States. I theorize that the prison apparatus not only
criminalizes urban poverty and upholds racial hierarchies, but was also
re-engineered to counter rural poverty. Analysis of a unique dataset
suggests that local reliance on prison infrastructure in economically
depressed, rural communities promotes increased political support for
punitive policies. Local political representatives have powerful interests
in protecting rural prison investments, regardless of their actual economic
impact in host communities. The evidence indicates that rural prison
development contributes to the perceived economic viability and political
power of rural areas, while reinforcing forms of punishment that destabilize
poor urban neighborhoods and harm politically marginalized populations.

Rebecca Thorpe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political
Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington.
Professor Thorpe researches national political institutions and power
relations, with a particular emphasis on how institutional structures
influence policymaking and regime development; and poverty.

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