Prisons and the Environment
Over the past decade, Earth Island Journal has been investigating the environmental injustices of mass incarceration, underscoring the ways in which the prison industrial complex devastates the environment and takes life-threatening tolls on human health, especially prisoners themselves and those living in nearby communities.
Our investigations have revealed that at least 589 prisons sit within three miles of a Superfund site and that prisons are often located on contaminated sites like landfills and former mines. Meanwhile, they spill contaminated water, including raw sewage, into local waterways, endangering surrounding communities. While prisons themselves are hidden away — given most of them are situated in isolated rural areas and small towns — their toxicity spreads far beyond their walls.
March 7, 2023 – Can a place that’s become synonymous with injustice and suffering ever embody regeneration and growth?
March 1, 2023 – The right to protest is being increasingly criminalized in the US.
August 19, 2022 – Corrections facilities concentrate hundreds or thousands of people in buildings that were designed without planning for extreme heat.
June 29, 2020 – Prisons and jails across the country are failing to adequately protect prisoners and staff from the pandemic.
January 8, 2018 – Turning old jails into employment hubs is challenging, but some groups are getting creative
September 21, 2017 – EJ activists celebrate move as an advance in the struggle to recognize the environmental rights of prisoners
September 8, 2017 – Superstorm takes toll on prison populations living in shadow of state's fossil fuel industry
August 8, 2017 – Lawsuit alleges that prisoners must drink comious amounts of lead- and copper-tained water to cope with high temperatures
June 30, 2017 – Proposed prison would have been terrible for prisoner health and local wildlife, say advocates
June 12, 2017 – Dangerous prison conditions likely to worsen as heat waves intensify with climate change
June 1, 2017 – The environmental injustices of mass incarceration
August 24, 2015 – Feds want to build a maximum-security prison on top of a former mountaintop removal mining site in eastern Kentucky