Carceral Labor Mapping Project

Prisoners out doing weed eating and litter pickup along side roadway

Year: 2023-2024
Research Team Type: Student-led
Organizers: Elizabeth Hargrett, PhD Candidate, Department of History; Xander Lenc, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography

The American landscape has been profoundly shaped by the labor and toil of incarcerated workers, but most of us pass by the highways, dams, forests, parks, and other landforms they built without any inkling of their carceral origins. There is no central database for the tens of thousands of infrastructural projects built by prisoners in the United States, and despite a wealth of disparate scholarship on prison and jail labor there is no collaborative platform for historians, geographers, sociologists, and other scholars of the prison to circulate their findings. The Carceral Labor Mapping Project (CLMP, or “Clamp”) aims to foster collaboration between carceral scholars and provide pedagogical tools for educators seeking to demystify the carceral landscape. The team will produce an online GIS platform allowing users to not only learn about the role that carceral labor programs have played in shaping the world around them, but also allowing them to collaborate on carceral research projects.