Greening the Gulag: Politics of Sustainability in Prison
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Over the past 30 years, the U.S. prison population has exploded. With only 5% of the global population, the U.S. now incarcerates more than 25% of the world’s prisoners (ACLU, 2011). This has led to increased attention towards the carceral system in the United States, and the efficacy of its methods of rehabilitation. As inmate populations rise, prisons have also become increasingly over-crowded, and this has led to a variety of environmental problems. In response to this and calls to action by the Justice Department to implement more sustainable and cost effective strategies in prisons, the United States is seeing a surge in prison sustainability programs throughout the country. While sustainability is an important challenge facing the world, researchers have argued that these changes are being made not only with environmental sustainability in mind, but with strategic aims to sustain current levels of hyper-incarceration.