PRISON MAP: Visualizing Carceral Space In America – By Josh Begley

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The United States is the prison capital of the world. There are some 2.2 million people behind bars in the US. That’s more people than there are in all of New Mexico. And there are more jails and prisons than colleges and universities in this country. Still, it can be difficult to grasp the scale of incarceration in America, in part because so many of these facilities are tucked away far from view in rural areas. This is not news to most people. When discussing the idea of mass incarceration, we often trot out numbers and dates and charts to explain the growth of imprisonment as both a historical phenomenon and a present-day reality. Prison Map is not a map – it’s a snapshot of the earth’s surface, taken at various points throughout the United States. It was made by Josh Begley, a graduate student studying Interactive Telecommunications at New York University. It begins from the premise that mapping the contours of the carceral state is important. A number of people and organizations have done excellent work in this regard. “Prison Map is about visualizing carceral space,” says Begley. “We have terms like the ‘prison industrial complex’ but what does that actually look like? If you were to stitch together all these spaces of exception, how might they appear from above?” To see all the pictures and have more information, do not hesitate to visit the link below.

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