Prison Town: Race, Work, and Making the Carceral State in Elmira, New York


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




“Prison Town” examines the carceral state in an upstate New York prison town, and shows how people live across the divides created by the carceral state. In one chapter, it uses interviews and participant observation on private bus routes carrying families of prisoners from New York City to see their loved ones in Elmira, one of New York's two state prisons. In addition, this project involves working in the New York State archives with documents related to the affirmative action committees created after the Attica rebellion to document the rank and file prison guards and their engagement and disengagement. In this way, it outlines a pattern of what David Roediger and Elizabeth Esch call a “collective racial development” of whiteness.