A Prison in the Woods
Environment and Incarceration in New York's North Country
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr. reveals that the introduction of correctional facilities—especially in the last three decades of the twentieth century—unearthed long-standing conflicts over the proper uses of Adirondack nature, particularly since these sites have contributed to deforestation, pollution, and habitat decline, even as they've provided jobs and spurred economic growth. Additionally, prison plans have challenged individuals' commitment to environmental protection, tested the strength of environmental regulations, endangered environmental and public health, and exposed tensions around race, class, place, and belonging in the isolated prison towns of America's largest state park.
"This is a pivotal study in the history of carceral systems in the United States. Hall brings together two seemingly dissimilar developments in the Adirondack region—prison development and the rise of environmental consciousness—and in the process adds significantly to our understanding of prison history."—Richard W. Judd, author of Second Nature: An Environmental History of New England
"With an engaging narrative, Hall draws on important scholarship from the field of carceral history as well as relevant environmental literature to make a persuasive case that two topics that might seem unrelated—prison construction and operation and the environment—are actually inextricably intertwined."—David Soll, author of Empire of Water: An Environmental and Political History of the New York City Water Supply
"[T]he spectacular scholarship of A Prison in the Woods is . . . essential. It is more than a historical monument, plaque, or testament; it is also a ledger of the debts incurred by racism and mass incarceration in New York’s North Country."—H-Net Reviews