Skip to main content

EKU Professor of Justice Studies Judah Schept publishes Op-Ed in the New York Times about a proposed new prison in Eastern Kentucky.

Photo of Dr. Judah Schept

Professor Judah Schept has published an Opinion-Editorial in the New York Timesabout Federal Correctional Institution, Letcher. If built, FCI Letcher would be the ninth prison in Eastern Kentucky, a region already home to the densest concentration of federal prisons in the United States. Writing with the journalist and scholar Sylvia Ryerson, Schept drew from his research on prison building in Central Appalachia in order to offer a cautionary argument against prison-based economic development efforts. Pointing to the ways that the coal industry has devasted regional ecology and public health, Schept and Ryerson argue that “prisons in Appalachia, many built on former strip-mining sites, fail to address coal’s legacy while perpetuating the horrors of mass incarceration.” Referencing the devastating floods of July 2022, they conclude by noting the need for “more relief and recovery spending in Eastern Kentucky and real solutions for all communities on the front lines of climate disaster and economic abandonment.”

Book CoverSchept’s book on these issues, Coal, Cages, Crisis: The Rise of the Prison Economy in Central Appalachia, was published in 2022 by New York University Press. 

To read the article click here!

Published on April 27, 2023

Published on May 04, 2023

Open /*deleted href=#openmobile*/