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Out of Sight

Special Report: The Toxic Footprint of America’s Prisons
prison series

Don’t Look Away

For many people in the United States, prisons are invisible. How is this possible, given that the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2.3 million people behind bars?

The answer is that prison, as an institution, relies on its own invisibility – its ability to disappear human beings.

Prisons are often stowed away in isolated rural areas and small towns. A large number of people in this country, particularly those who aren’t part of the communities most impacted by incarceration, simply avert their eyes. As activist …more

Articles in the Series

America’s Toxic Prisons
The environmental injustices of mass incarceration
Forced to Endure Extreme Heat, Texas Prisoners Becoming Casualties of Climate Denial
Dangerous prison conditions likely to worsen as heat waves intensify with climate change
DOJ Withdraws Plan for Kentucky Prison on Mountaintop-Removal Site
Proposed prison would have been terrible for prisoner health and local wildlife, say advocates
US Is Locking Immigrants in Toxic Detention Centers
From Washington to Texas, climate refugees detained in contaminated jails are victims of environmental injustice
'Cruel and Unusual': Texas Prisoners Face Deadly Heat and Contaminated Water
Lawsuit alleges that prisoners must drink comious amounts of lead- and copper-tained water to cope with high temperatures
Texas Prisoners Describe Nightmarish Conditions, Exposure to Floodwaters Following Harvey
Superstorm takes toll on prison populations living in shadow of state's fossil fuel industry
EPA Adds Prison Locations to its Environmental Justice Mapping Tool
EJ activists celebrate move as an advance in the struggle to recognize the environmental rights of prisoners
Can Prisons Be Flipped for Good?
Turning old jails into employment hubs is challenging, but some groups are getting creative