Current Society of Fellows Fellow Emma Shaw Crane published an article with Public Books that offers an overview of scholarship documenting a major shift in incarceration in the US from urban centers to the suburbs.
The New Geography of the Carceral State
In 1979, the Think Tank—a group of citizen scientists incarcerated at a maximum-security prison in New York—published a report popularly known as the “Seven Neighborhoods Study.” Drawing on meticulous empirical research, the Think Tank found that 75 percent of all people incarcerated in the state of New York came from the same urban neighborhoods: Harlem and the Lower East Side in Manhattan, the South Bronx, South Jamaica in Queens, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and East New York in Brooklyn. These neighborhoods were poor, hyperpoliced, and predominantly Black and Latinx. One direct result of this geographically unequal distribution of policing and punishment was that 85 percent of people incarcerated in New York State were Black and Latinx